News From Terre Haute, Indiana


January 8, 2012

Rose wins twinbill

Engineers take HCAC games from Mount St. Joseph

TERRE HAUTE — Saturday was a fun day to be part of the Rose-Hulman basketball family.

Playing an afternoon doubleheader inside Hulbert Arena, the Rose women routed Mount St. Joseph 71-40 to post their largest margin of victory since the 2006-07 season when the female Engineers defeated St. Mary-of-the-Woods by 41.

Then the Rose men catapulted themselves into a tie for first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings by holding off stubborn Mount St. Joseph 54-42. That set up a three-way tie at 5-1 between the league-leading Engineers, Transylvania and Hanover.

In the men’s game, Rose-Hulman turned a 7-4 deficit into a 13-7 lead on 3-pointers by James Pillischafske, Jon Gerken and Jake Dodd midway through the first half. Later, the home team used a 9-0 run — thanks to a 15-foot jumper by Julian Strickland, a rebound bucket by Nate Gissentanner, a trey by Blake Knotts and a steal/layup combination by Dodd — to boost its lead to 22-10.

A 3 by Knotts from the top of the arc gave the Engineers a 32-14 advantage going into halftime, then Strickland opened the second half with an inside fielder to pad their cushion to 34-14.

From there, the Lions from Cincinnati outscored the hosts 28-20. The matter in which that happened, including several Rose second-half turnovers, did not put a smile on coach Jim Shaw’s face when he addressed his players in the lockerroom afterward.

“I thought in the first half, we did a really good job of grinding out a nice lead,” Shaw explained. “It wasn’t always pretty, but we played possession by possession and valued every possession offensively and defensively.

“In the second half, we did not do that. We showed an attitude of arrogance that we did not feel threatened, that that game could go away [without the possibility of losing] … but Mount St. Joe’s had something to do with it. I’m not going to discredit their effort. I thought they played very hard and very well in the second half and caused some of our problems.”

Shaw did save a few nice comments for Pillischafske, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who led the Engineers in scoring with 12 points on four 3-pointers.

“I thought James was solid in every way,” the Engineers’ veteran coach said. “He made those big shots [three treys in the second half] that kinda bailed us out and enabled us to continue a double-figure lead where it never got too scary.”

As a team, Rose-Hulman connected on 9 of 15 attempts from beyond the long-range arc, good for 60 percent.

Shaw’s squad must now go on the road — to Anderson on Wednesday and to Transylvania next Saturday — to see if it can remain on top or near the top of the conference standings.

“A weird thing has happened,” Shaw mentioned. “The league has kinda been divided into two parts. Transylvania [which had its first HCAC defeat Saturday at Defiance], ourselves, Hanover, Anderson and Franklin have separated from the other five schools [record-wise]. But the top four or five haven’t really started playing each other much. Now that’s going to change. All the top teams start playing each other … It gets really interesting now.”

V.J. Evans and Clifford Cass paced Mount St. Joseph with 14 and 10 points respectively. For Rose, Brenton Balsbaugh grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

In the women’s contest, all five starting Engineers scored in double figures — Alisa Dickerson with 21 points that included 7-for-9 marksmanship from the field, Kelsey Ploof with 14 points, Sheree Williams with 13 and Grace Gibbs and Heather Finnell with 10 apiece. Gibbs, a 5-10 freshman, also finished with a game-high 15 boards and Dickerson dished out eight assists.

Pretty much all you need to know about this blowout was Rose led 6-4 with 16:29 remaining in the first half, then led 35-7 with 2:44 left in the first half and 40-9 by halftime.

“We’re getting some people healthy,” noted coach Jon Prevo, whose suddenly hot Engineers chalked up their third straight triumph and evened their HCAC record at 3-3.

“We’ve got more people I can put out on the floor. We’re getting good production out of a number of individuals. Today, we really did a nice job of staying focused in what we call ‘action and effort’ plays.”

Courtney Cole ended up as the Lions’ top scorer with 11 points.

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