TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament for the third consecutive year with a 70-56 victory over Hanover College at Hulbert Arena on Saturday night.
Senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) was named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high 26 points. Strickland finished 8-17 from the field and 7-9 on the foul line in the performance.
Sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) added 20 points to balance the attack and earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Miller was 7-9 from the field and 4-4 on the foul line.
Other key contributors included senior Jordy Martin (New Albany) with six points and six assists; and sophomore Tyler Duffy (Fishers/Hamilton Southeastern) with four points, five assists and five rebounds.
Junior Tim Bass led Hanover with 25 points and five assists, and was also joined on the all-tournament team by Kyle James (10 points and four rebounds). Bass was 10-17 from the field to lead a 48% shooting effort from the Panthers.
Rose-Hulman advances to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament for the third consecutive year for the first time in school history. The senior class improved its career record to 82-28 as the winningest four-year class in program history.
In addition, Jim Shaw becomes just the third head coach in HCAC history to win three conference tournament championships, joining Steve Alford (Manchester) and Mike Beitzel (Hanover).
The team's 22-5 record also ranks third in school history in terms of single-season wins. Rose-Hulman has also won 20 games for the third straight year for the first time ever.
On Saturday, the Fightin' Engineers shot 61% in the second half to turn a halftime tie into a 70-56 victory. The Fightin' Engineers also committed just seven turnovers in the contest and hit 19-25 free throws, including 12-13 in the second half.
The two teams battled to ties at 12, 18, 20, 22 and 24, before the score was knotted at 26-26 at the break.
The second half started with a quick Rose-Hulman spurt to turn the tie into a 38-27 Engineer lead. Strickland buried back-to-back three-pointers and two free throws, while Miller contributed two layups in the spurt.
Rose-Hulman pushed its edge to 14 points at 47-33 on a three-pointer by Strickland at the 12:01 mark. Hanover trimmed the margin to nine points at 65-56, but the Engineers hit five free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman improved to 22-5 overall and will find out its NCAA Tournament destination on Monday at 12:30 p.m. when the NCAA.com Division III selection show is aired.