TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology improved to 16-2 on the men's basketball season with a 55-53 victory over Manchester University at Hulbert Arena on Wednesday.
Junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) led the Rose-Hulman offense with 15 points. Senior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) added 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds on 5-6 from the field.
Senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) contributed nine points and a team-high three assists, and senior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) scored seven points.
Greg Flores led the Manchester offense with 13 points and two assists on 5-6 from the field. Silas Sims added nine points for the Spartans.
Rose-Hulman shot 39% from the floor but hit 17-21 free throws to secure their 14th win in the last 15 games. The Fightin' Engineers also tallied 14 offensive rebounds and owned a 33-24 edge on the boards.
Rose-Hulman led 6-2 early, before a 10-2 run by Manchester gave the Spartans a 12-8 edge at the 12:35 mark. The margin remained within four points for the rest of the first half, and Gissentanner buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to force a 28-28 tie at halftime.
In the second half, the lead swapped on several occasions before baskets from Balsbaugh and junior Jake Dodd (St. Peters, Mo./Missouri-St. Louis) made the score 36-33 in favor of Rose-Hulman. A three-point play by Balsbaugh and two free throws by Strickland pushed the lead to 50-40 at the 5:20 mark.
The lead stayed at 10 points at 54-44 after another score by Strickland with 2:28 left. Manchester relied on a three-pointer by Caleb Jackson, two free throws by Grant Newlin and a layup by Sims to move within 54-51 at the 1:10 mark.
After an Engineer miss at the offensive end, Sims missed a potential game tying three-pointer and Strickland added one free throw. Brady Dolezal scored with 0.1 seconds left, and the Engineers ran the remaining time to secure the 55-53 victory.
Rose-Hulman stands 16-2 and holds a one-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings at 10-1 in league play. Manchester dropped to 4-14 and 1-10 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers host Mount St. Joseph on Saturday at 3 p.m.