RICHMOND, IND. -- Earlham College upset No. 18 ranked Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 68-66 in the John Mutchner Cup men's basketball matchup on Wednesday night.
With the loss, Rose-Hulman drops to 21-3 on the season and 15-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The winner of Saturday's game featuring Rose-Hulman at Hanover will host the HCAC Tournament on Feb. 22-23.
Rose-Hulman rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes to tie the score at 66-66 with 40 seconds remaining after a steal and basket from senior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County). Earlham ran down the shot clock on the next possession, then Tyler Lewers scored with five seconds left to give the Quakers a 68-66 lead.
Junior James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) attempted a three-pointer at the buzzer that fell off as Earlham regained the John Mutchner Cup for the first time in six seasons.
Lewers and Dustin Rusk led the Earlham offense with 14 points each. Blake Welch and Jake O'Flaherty also reached double figures with 13 points for the balanced Quaker attack.
Senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) paced Rose-Hulman with 21 points. Gissentanner scored 17 points off the bench, and senior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) contributed 12 points and seven rebounds to the effort.
Earlham shot 42% from the field and hit 12 three-pointers to pull the upset victory. Rose-Hulman trailed by nine points at 63-54 after a Rusk score at the 2:38 mark, but one free throw from Weatherford, three-pointers by Weatherford, Pillischafske and Gissentanner, and the Gissentanner layup forced a tied score at 66.
Rose-Hulman concludes the regular season at Hanover on Saturday at 3 p.m.