News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 13, 2013

College basketball: Rose men look to clinch share of HCAC title

Staff report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — No. 18-ranked Rose-Hulman looks to clinch an outright men’s basketball regular-season conference championship and secure hosting rights for the league tournament with a win at Earlham at 7:30. today.

Rose would secure the top seed for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament with a win today. The Engineers would host two semifinal games Feb. 22 and the championship game Feb. 23.

The team would also secure its first outright conference championship since 1999 with a victory at Earlham. The Engineers stand 21-2 overall and 15-1 in HCAC play for the second-winningest season in program history.

Rose-Hulman continues to lead all three NCAA divisions in scoring defense (49.3 ppg). The defensive effort includes 11 games of holding the opposition to 45 points or fewer, and seven games allowing 40 points or less.

Offensively, Julian Strickland (14.2 ppg) and Austin Weatherford (12.1 ppg) have both crossed the 1,000-point mark in their careers so far this season. Brenton Balsbaugh (7.0 ppg), Jon Gerken (6.9) and James Pillischafske (4.4) round out the starting lineup, and Nate Gissentanner (7.4 ppg) has provided depth off the bench.

Earlham stands 2-21 overall and seeks its first win since an overtime victory over Manchester on Jan. 5. The Quakers also defeated Oberlin in November. Dustin Rusk (11.9 ppg) and Jack O’Flaherty (11.6 ppg) are double-figure scorers for the Quakers.

After today’s game, Rose-Hulman hits the road for Hanover and the Panther Senior Day Game at 3 p.m. Saturday. The  Engineers have earned a bye in the six-team HCAC tournament that begins with two opening-round games Feb. 19.