TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Hanover College will meet for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball championship tonight at 7 p.m. at Hulbert Arena.
The matchup marks the second consecutive year that Rose-Hulman and Hanover have battled for the HCAC Tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Rose-Hulman earned a 64-59 victory in last year's conference championship game.
The Fightin' Engineers look to make their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time and hope to make their 11th overall NCAA appearance in program history. Hanover seeks its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2011.
Rose-Hulman earned the No. 1 seed for the HCAC Tournament with a 21-5 record after earning a share of its second consecutive regular season conference championship. The effort marks the school record third consecutive year that the Fightin' Engineers have won 20 or more games. Preseason All-American Julian Strickland leads the Fightin' Engineers in scoring at 22.8 points per game. Rose-Hulman earned hosting rights by winning 18 of its last 20 games.
Hanover has won seven of its last seven games, including five consecutive victories, entering the HCAC title game. The Panthers (19-8, 13-5 HCAC) have a tested tournament tradition featuring seven championship game appearances and three consecutive conference tournament titles in 2003, '04 and '05. Tim Bass (14.4 ppg) and Kyle James (11.4 ppg) lead a balanced scoring attack that features three players in double figures.
Hanover leads the all-time series 47-34, and the HCAC series is tied at 9-9. Rose-Hulman holds a 4-1 edge in conference tournament meetings. This season, Hanover earned a 67-62 win on its home floor, and Rose-Hulman won 61-50 in the previous Hulbert Arena matchup.
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 and senior citizens will be charged $5 and those age 11 and under are free.
2014 HCAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE & RESULTS:
TUESDAY FEB. 25 - OPENING ROUND Hanover 78, Franklin 70 Mount St. Joseph 75, Transylvania 54
FRIDAY FEB. 28 - SEMIFINALS (at Hulbert Arena - Rose-Hulman) Hanover 61, Defiance 54 COVERAGE: STORY / BOX SCORE / PHOTOS VIDEOS: TIM BASS / JON MILLER Rose-Hulman 68, Mt. St. Joseph 54 COVERAGE: STORY / BOX SCORE / PHOTOS VIDEOS: JULIAN STRICKLAND / JIM SHAW
SATURDAY MAR. 1 - CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (at Hulbert Arena - Rose-Hulman) No. 1 Rose-Hulman vs. No. 3 Hanover, 7 p.m. (LIVE STATS / LIVE VIDEO)
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