Men's Basketball to Host Calvin on Saturday at 7



746-ncaa1-adTERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology hosts Calvin College in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament tonight at 7 p.m. in a matchup of two teams ranked in the national top 20.

Tickets will be available for purchase beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Sports and Recreation Center.  Prices are $6 for adults and $3 for students, senior citizens and children above the age of two as established by the NCAA.

In-game video, live stats and live press conference video after the game are all available online at

The No. 19 ranked Fightin' Engineers (24-3) earned an automatic bid to this year's 62-team NCAA Division III Tournament with a 64-59 win over Hanover College in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.

No. 12 ranked Calvin has won 18 of its last 19 games, including the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference tournament last weekend.  The Knights relied on a 14-game winning streak from late December until mid-February to position themselves among the national elite.

The balanced Calvin offensive attack is led by 6-4 senior Tom Snikkers at 13.3 points per game.  6-9 junior Tyler Kruis averages 12.8 points per game, with 6-1 senior Bryan Powell (11.6) and 6-3 sophomore Jordan Brink (10.7) also in double figures.

The contest is probably the most anticipated of all 31 NCAA Division III first round tournament games, featuring the only matchup of two top 20 teams in the entire bracket.

Rose-Hulman has tied a school record with 24 wins this season, matching the 1976-77 team that reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.  The Fightin' Engineers continue to lead NCAA Division III in scoring defense, allowing just 51.0 points per game, and were ranked No. 23 nationally last week by

Senior Brenton Balsbaugh (Arcanum, Ohio/Greenville) was named Most Valuable Player of the HCAC Tournament for Rose-Hulman this weekend after back-to-back season-high 17-point performances.  Balsbaugh leads the team in field goal percentage at 58% and averages 7.4 points per game.

Junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game, with senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) adding 12.5 points per contest.  Both players are members of Rose-Hulman's 1,000-point club and joined Balsbaugh on the HCAC all-tournament team.

Senior Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) and junior James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) round out the starting lineup, which also receives major scoring contributions from sixth-man Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County).

The Rose-Hulman men's basketball team will make its 10th NCAA Division III Tournament appearance and has reached postseason play for the second consecutive year.  The Rose-Hulman men's basketball history includes nine regular season conference titles and three league tournament championships. 

The 2012-13 campaign marks the first time in Fightin' Engineer men's basketball history that the team has won regular season and conference tournament titles in the same season.  Rose-Hulman will also host an NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament game for the first time since 1997, which was the last year of Shook Fieldhouse.