TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology retained a one-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a 61-50 victory over Hanover College on Senior Night at Hulbert Arena.
Senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) led the Fightin' Engineers with 26 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) also reached double figures with 10 points.
Kyle James led the Hanover offense with 17 points on 7-12 from the field. Desmond Marks added 12 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field for the Panthers.
Rose-Hulman celebrated Senior Night for six members of the team prior to tipoff. Seniors Jake Dodd (St. Peters, Mo./Missouri-St. Louis), Alec Houpt (Chesterton, Ind.), Jordy Martin (New Albany, Ind.), Brian McHugh (Deerfield, Ill.), James Pillischafske (Louisville, Ky./Male) and Strickland have combined for a 78-27 career record that matches the most wins for a senior class in school history. The six players combined for 2,231 points, 422 appearances and 181 starts as Fightin' Engineers entering Wednesday's game.
Houpt pitched in with eight points and four rebounds, and Martin added four points and three assists to provide depth to the Engineer offensive attack.
Rose-Hulman led 13-10 five minutes into the game after a Strickland field goal, but Hanover rallied to claim a 16-15 lead on a Marks basket at the 10:04 mark of the opening half. Rose-Hulman responded with a 15-8 spurt over the remainder of the first half to take a 30-23 lead into the intermission.
In the second half, Hanover closed to within five points at 35-30 on a three-pointer by Tim Bass at the 16:56 mark. The Engineers answered with an 11-3 run over the next six minutes to push the lead to 46-33 with 10:58 remaining.
Hanover made a quick rally to close within 51-45 at the 6:13 mark after back-to-back scores from Marks and James. Rose-Hulman held the Panthers without a point for nearly five minutes and relied on two free throws from Strickland, two charity tosses by sophomore Matt Loesing (Elsberry, Mo.) and a layup from junior Corey Povaleri (Deputy/Madison) to push the lead to 57-45 and secure the victory.
With the victory, Rose-Hulman maintained a one-game lead in the HCAC standings over Defiance College. The Fightin' Engineers need two wins in their three remaining road games to secure HCAC Tournament hosting rights on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1.
Rose-Hulman improved to 18-4 overall and 13-2 in HCAC play, while Hanover dropped to 14-8 and 10-5 in conference games. The Fightin' Engineers travel to Bluffton University on Saturday at 3 p.m.