(PHOTOS TO COME WHEN AVAILABLE)
PARIS, FRANCE -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of
Technology men's basketball team battled through travel issues and
fatigue to win two tightly contested battles to open the squad's
trip to France.
The Fightin' Engineers battled through 42 hours of travel, four
planes, two mechanical cancellations, one delay and five trips
through security and Customs before beginning their trip in Paris.
(READ THE TEAM BLOG FOR MORE)
Rose-Hulman took to the court almost immediately upon arriving
in France and squared off with the VGA St. Maur level two club
team. The opposition featured 20-28 year olds in a regional
league, including several former professional players.
James Pillischafske paced the Engineers with 15 points,
including four three-point shots and the team's first nine
points. Brenton Balsbaugh added 14 points and a pair of
strong dunks, with Jon Gerken contributing 13 points.
Rose-Hulman held an early double-figure lead, before St. Maur
rallied to force a tie at halftime. St. Maur gained a 68-66
advantage with two minutes remaining, before the Fightin' Engineers
scored the last five points to earn a 71-68 victory.
Austin Weatherford put Rose-Hulman ahead at 69-68 on a
conventional three-point play, then Gerken buried two free throws
to push the lead to three points. St. Maur missed a
desperation three-point shot at the buzzer as Rose-Hulman moved to
1-0 on the trip.
The second matchup featured Rose-Hulman squaring off with the
top junior team in France. The Paris-Levallois Junior Team
featured players aged 17-20 on scholarships with aspirations of
playing professional basketball. The squad is a developmental
team for the organization that produced NBA all-star Tony
The long and talented Paris-Levallois squad featured a
frontcourt at 6-8, 6-8 and 6-9 for much of the contest and jumped
ahead of Rose-Hulman early. The Engineers rallied to capture
a 64-63 victory by scoring the game's last six points.
Weatherford paced the Rose-Hulman offense with 17 points, and
Gissentanner added 15. Julian Strickland also reached double
figures with 11 points. The team took advantage of strong
free throw shooting, including Weatherford hitting two free throws
with six seconds left to provide the winning margin.
Head coach Jim Shaw noted the sportsmanship, atmosphere and
organization as highlights of the team's game experiences thus far
in France. The team adjusted to a 24-second shot clock and
several international rules, and posed for photos with the
opposition following each game.
The team will embark on the sightseeing portion of its trip in
Paris and Normandy, before playing a final contest next week.