Men's Basketball Ties Best Start Ever with Win Over Earlham

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dodd-ecTERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's basketball team tied the best start to a season in program history with a 67-59 victory over Earlham College on Wednesday night.

Rose-Hulman improved to 11-1 on the season and 5-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play to tie the 1977-78 squad for the best start to a year in school history.  The Fightin' Engineers also moved into sole possession of first place in the HCAC standings after Hanover topped previously unbeaten Mount St. Joseph.

Senior Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) led four Rose-Hulman players in double figures with 13 points.  He also added five rebounds and tied for team-high honors with five assists.

Junior Jake Dodd (St. Peters, Mo./Missouri-St. Louis) added a season-high 12 points on 5-7 from the field. 

Senior Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) contributed 11 points and six rebounds, with senior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) scoring 10 points with seven rebounds.

Other key contributors included senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) with eight points, seven rebounds and four steals; freshman Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) with five points; and junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) with five assists.

Jack O'Flaherty led Earlham with 16 points, and Tyler Lewers also reached double figures with 15 points for the Quakers.

Earlham shot 67% from three-point range in the first half to take a 34-31 lead into the halftime locker room.  The lead had reached six points at 34-28, before a Gerken three-pointer brought Rose-Hulman within three points at the break.

In the second half, Rose-Hulman regained the lead at 41-38 on a 6-0 run capped by two free throws from Balsbaugh.  Earlham fought back again to earn a 47-43 on a three-pointer by O'Flaherty at the 11:46 mark.

Rose-Hulman's defense tightened to force a 53-53 tie at the 6:23 mark on a score by Dodd.  The Engineers pushed the lead to five points at 58-53, before Lewers scored again to bring Earlham within 58-55 at the 4:05 mark.

Field goals by Dodd and Balsbaugh, along with three minutes of scoreless defense from the Fightin' Engineers, pushed Rose-Hulman's lead to 63-55 with 1:27 remaining.  Earlham was unable to close within less than six points in the final minute.

Rose-Hulman stands 11-1 and 5-0 in league play, while Earlham dropped to 1-11.  The Fightin' Engineers travel to Mount St. Joseph on Saturday.