News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

January 6, 2011

Engineers drop 2-pointer to Spartans

TERRE HAUTE — If there was ever a prophetic moment in a ballgame, this was it.

Early in the second half, Manchester’s 6-foot-10, 245-pound center Jason Spindler recycled three Rose-Hulman shots in a single possession. Spindler  proceeded to draw a foul at the other end of the floor, and banked two free throws.

Yes, banked.

Now fast forward to the final 1.6 seconds — after three straight times-out by both teams. To set the scene, Rose-Hulman trailed by two points, and when the ball was finally inbounded, the 3-pointer for the win was unavailable, so the ball was lobbed into Rose’s 6-6 Jon Gerken under the basket.

Gerken went high and came down with the ball, spun to get an open look for a layup, but you guessed it. Spindler cleanly recycled Gerken’s shot as time ran out.

Manchester began a celebration on the floor after escaping with a 57-55 victory in this Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball game at Hulbert Arena.

Nate Gissentanner and Julian Strickland paced the Rose offense with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Gissentanner also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

For the visiting Spartans, Mitch Schaefer scored 15 points, Jordan Moss 14 and Nathan Ferch 13.

Spindler tallied just two points — the two banked free throws — which were ultimately the difference in the final score. Spindler also pulled down six rebounds and blocked six shots, none more important than the final shot of the game.

Manchester began the game with a 1-0 lead as Rose’s starting point guard Austin Weatherford was issued a technical foul in pre-game warm-ups for dunking the basketball. Manchester’s Schaefer hit 1-of-2 free throws before the ball had even been tipped.

Manchester’s largest lead was five points in the first half, on two occasions (5-0 and 26-21). Rose’s largest lead was three points at 12-9. The Engineers’ final lead of the game was 29-28 following a baseline 3-pointer by freshman James Pillischafske with one minute left to halftime.

The Spartans’ Tyler Delauder scored on a drive 30 seconds later, and the visitors led 30-29 at the break.

Manchester never trailed in the second half, leading by as much as eight points (45-37) and still fronted by seven points (51-44) with 8:56 remaining.

Rose finally got some defensive stops, scoring six consecutive points to get within 51-50 with 5:31 left.

The Engineers had two opportunities to assume the lead — Gerken missed a shot at 4:18, then Strickland was called for a charging foul at 3:27. The two teams exchanged threes, then Manchester’s Tyler Henn scored on a bank shot for a 56-53 lead.

Strickland scored on a jumper in the lane to get Rose back down by one point at 56-55 with 23.2 seconds to go, setting up the excitement at game’s end.

Rose-Hulman slipped to 9-3 overall, 3-2 in the HCAC. The Engineers will play five of its next six games on the road, beginning with a league game at Bluffton at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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