RHIT, Hanover, Transy, Defiance to Battle for HCAC Title

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LIVE IN-GAME COVERAGE:  VIDEO / LIVE STATS

hcac-bannerTERRE HAUTE, IND. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's basketball team will host the 2013 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Feb. 22-23 at Hulbert Arena.

Semifinal action includes a doubleheader at Rose-Hulman on Feb. 22.  Second-seeded Hanover will face third-seeded Transylvania in the opener at 6 p.m., followed by top-seeded Rose-Hulman against fourth-seeded Defiance at 8 p.m.

The two Friday night winners will advance to the championship game set for 7 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 23.  The tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Rose-Hulman has earned the No. 1 seed for the HCAC Tournament with a 22-3 record after winning its first outright men's basketball regular season conference championship since 1999.  Julian Strickland (14.4 ppg) and Austin Weatherford (12.5 ppg) lead the offense, and the team leads all NCAA Division III programs in scoring defense (50.4 ppg).  The Fightin' Engineers earned hosting rights after a 59-57 win at Hanover in the regular season finale on Saturday.

Hanover won 12 of its last 14 games to secure the No. 2 seed for the tournament at 17-8 overall and 14-4 in conference play.  Tim Bass (13.1 ppg), Ryan Nowicki (13.0 ppg) and Brian Gunter (10.2 ppg) are double figure scorers for a team that averages a conference high 77.4 points per game.  The Panthers earned their first round bye in a tiebreaker after sweeping No. 3 Transylvania during the regular season.

Transylvania stands 20-6 on the season and won 16 of its last 19 games, including a 75-57 decision over Mount St. Joseph in the opening round of the HCAC Tournament on Tuesday.  The trio of Ethan Spurlin (16.1 ppg), Barrett Meyer (14.4 ppg) and Brandon Rash (14.4 ppg) lead the offensive attack.  The balaned Pioneer squad ranks third in the HCAC in scoring offense (70.0 ppg) and second in scoring defense (59.9 ppg).

Defiance enters the tournament with a 16-10 record after defeating Franklin 85-66 in the HCAC Tournament opening round on Tuesday night.  The Yellow Jackets offense ranks second in the league behind three strong scorers.  Logan Wolfrum leads the HCAC in scoring average at 18.6 points per game.  Ryan Hicks (12.7 ppg) and Bernard Edwards (10.2 ppg) provide depth, and Hicks set a career-high with 27 points in the Franklin game.

By postseason tournament rules, all adults will be charged a $6 admission fee and there will be no pass list.  Students, faculty and staff from HCAC schools will be admitted free with identification.  Non-HCAC students will be charged $5 and those age 3 and under are free.

2013 HCAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE & RESULTS:

TUESDAY FEB. 19 - OPENING ROUND
Transylvania 75, Mount St. Joseph 57
Defiance 85, Franklin 66

FRIDAY FEB. 22 - SEMIFINALS (at Hulbert Arena - Rose-Hulman)
6 pm - #3 Transylvania vs. #2 Hanover (LIVE VIDEO / LIVE STATS)
8 pm - #4 Defiance at #1 Rose-Hulman (LIVE VIDEO / LIVE STATS)

SATURDAY FEB. 23 - CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (at Hulbert Arena - Rose-Hulman)
7 pm - Friday's winners (LIVE VIDEO / LIVE STATS)