TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) led three players in double figures with 26 points as the Fightin' Engineers topped Bluffton University 70-57 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday.
Strickland finished 10-17 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line with four assists and four steals to lead the offensive attack. Senior Alec Houpt (Chesterton) added a career-high 15 points on 6-8 from the field, and sophomore Tyler Duffy (Fishers/Hamilton Southeastern) set two career-highs with 12 points and eight assists.
With the victory, Rose-Hulman improved to 3-1 in HCAC play and is part of a five-way tie for first place in the league standings.
Other key contributors to the Fightin' Engineer offense included sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) and junior Michael Hallstein (Hopedale, Ill./Olympia) with six points each.
Will Pope led the Bluffton offense with 16 points on 8-12 from the field. Thayne Recker came off the bench for 10 points and seven rebounds, and Dustin Kinn had nine points and seven boards for the Beavers.
Rose-Hulman built a 37-27 halftime lead behind 59% shooting from the field in the opening 20 minutes. The Fightin' Engineers started quickly, jumping out to a 16-6 lead at the 14:38 mark of the first half on a layup by Strickland. Bluffton rallied to trim the lead to 16-11 at the 11:55 mark, before Rose-Hulman held the Beavers to just three points over three minutes to increase the lead to 23-14.
The lead reached double figures at 33-23 on a layup by Hallstein at the 4:30 mark, and the Engineers maintained a 10-point edge at the half.
In the second stanza, Rose-Hulman had a strong start to push the lead to 42-26 on a Duffy basket. The lead reached 17 points at 49-32 on a conventional three-point play by Duffy.
Bluffton trimmed the lead to 59-46 with 7:58 remaining, and could close no closer than 13 points the rest of the way. The Fightin' Engineers improved to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in league play with the win, while Bluffton dropped to 6-5 and 2-2 in conference games.
Rose-Hulman returns to action with the John Mutchner Cup Game against Earlham College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hulbert Arena.
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