TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game for the third consecutive year with a 68-54 win over Mount St. Joseph on Friday night at Hulbert Arena.
Senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) led the Fightin' Engineers with 27 points, and sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) contributed 18 points to the offensive effort.
Joel Scudder paced Mount St. Joseph with 11 points, and David Mann also reached double figures with 10 points for the Lions.
Rose-Hulman advances to face Hanover College on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the HCAC Tournament championship game. The Fightin' Engineers look for their third straight conference title and third straight NCAA Division III Tournament appearance after defeating Transylvania in 2012 and Hanover in 2013 in the title round.
Rose-Hulman shot a perfect 7-7 from three-point range and hit 59% from the field for the game to earn its 21st win of the season. The single-season victory total ranks third in school history, behind the 24-win squads in 1977 and 2013.
The Engineers jumped out to an early 12-5 lead three-pointer from Martin, before Mount St. Joseph scored seven straight points to tie the game at 12-12. Rose-Hulman answered with a 13-3 run to claim a 25-15 lead on a score by senior Alec Houpt (Chesterton).
The lead reached 31-19 on a layup by junior Corey Povaleri (Deputy, Ind./Madison), before the Lions rallied to within 33-24 at the break.
In the second half, Miller scored three straight Rose-Hulman field goals from the 15:51 to 13:19 mark to help push the lead to 46-28. Strickland later scored nine consecutive points in a 9-2 run to push the margin to 57-43 and secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman improved to 21-5 on the season, while Mount St. Joseph finished the year at 17-9 for the second most wins in school history. The Fightin' Engineers face a Hanover squad looking for their first HCAC Tournament championship since 2005.