News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

February 27, 2013

METRO ROUNDUP: Strickland, Shaw take HCAC top honors

TERRE HAUTE — Rose-Hulman junior Julian Strickland was named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year for men’s basketball and Jim Shaw earned Coach of the Year honors in awards released by the league office this week.

Strickland, a Pike High School graduate, was joined by senior teammate Austin Weatherford as a first-team all-league selection. Seniors Jon Gerken and Nate Gissentanner captured honorable-mention all-conference accolades.

Strickland averaged a team-high 14.5 points per game to lead a Rose squad that won conference regular-season and tournament championships in the same season for the first time in school history. The civil-engineering major became the 29th member of Rose-Hulman’s 1,000-point club and has tallied 1,082 points in his career.

Strickland becomes the third Engineer in the coach Shaw era to earn Conference Player of the Year honors. Previous award winners were Bryan Egli (1999 National Player of the Year) and Philip Griffith (2004).

In addition, Strickland captured his second career all-conference award. He also was named the HCAC tournament’s Most Valuable Player during Rose’s 2012 title run at Transylvania that culminated with a career-high 30-point effort in the championship game.

Shaw captured his fourth career Coach of the Year honor after leading Rose-Hulman to a 24-3 record and a 16-2 conference mark to win the regular-season title. The Engineers backed up the effort by winning the league postseason tournament title with wins over Defiance and Hanover last weekend.

Shaw’s squad recorded the second-longest winning streak in school history at 11 games, then added an eight-game streak later in the season. The team’s 24 wins this year tie the previous school record set by the 1976-77 NCAA quarterfinal squad coached by John Mutchner.

Shaw enters the NCAA Division III tournament with a career record of 281-214 to rank second in school history in wins (281) and winning percentage (.568). His coaching staff includes fourth-year assistant coach Rusty Loyd and student assistant Blake Knotts.

Weatherford ranked second on the team with an average of 12.5 points per game and leads the squad with 95 assists and 39 steals. His career point total of 1,194 points ranks 16th in school history.

Gerken averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 26 starts this season. He has scored 755 career points in 106 appearances that also includes 77 starts as an Engineer and also was named to the conference all-sportsmanship team.

Gissentanner ranks third on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game, including 10 double-figure scoring games this season. His career totals include 107 appearances and 849 career points.

No. 19-ranked Rose-Hulman (24-3) will square off with No. 12-ranked Calvin (24-3) in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday in Hulbert Arena. Rose vs. Calvin is the only one of 31 first-round NCAA matchups that features two teams in the d3hoops.com national top 20.

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