NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology completed its best men's basketball season since 2003-04 with a 54-49 loss to Transylvania University in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at Manchester College on Friday night.
Rose-Hulman finished with a 16-10 overall record and a nine-game improvement for the second best single-season turnaround in school history.
Sophomore Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) led the Engineers with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Freshman Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) also reached double figures with 13 points.
Other key contributors for the Engineers included sophomore Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) with five points and seven rebounds; junior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) with four points and five rebounds; sophomore Brenton Balsbaugh (Greenville, Ohio/Arcanum) with four points and four rebounds; and junior Spencer Harlan (Terre Haute/South) with four points.
Ashley Hatfield led three Transylvania players in double figures with 14 points. Barrett Meyer and Ethan Spurlin scored 11 points each. The Pioneers hit 20 of 27 free throws and 18-23 in the second half to secure the victory.
Transylvania jumped out to a nine-point lead at 19-10, before a free throw by Weatherford and a three-pointer by Strickland brought the Engineers within 19-14 at the 7:20 mark. The Pioneers led by seven points at 23-16, before two free throws from Harlan and a score by Weatherford brought Rose-Hulman within 23-20 at the half.
In the second half, Transylvania led by seven points at 29-22, before an 8-4 run by the Engineers made the score 33-30 at the 12:40 mark. The Pioneers maintained a narrow margin at four points at 44-40, but a conventional three-point play by Strickland brought Rose-Hulman within its closest margin at 44-43 with 3:40 left.
Transylvania answered by holding the Engineers to one field goal over the next three minutes and hitting five free throws to secure the victory.
Transylvania improved to 18-8 on the season and returns to
action against Manchester College on Saturday night in the HCAC