News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 12, 2014

Celebration: On its Senior Night, Rose-Hulman extends win streak to six games

David Hughes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Celebrating Senior Night, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to six games and avenged one of its four losses this season by downing Hanover 61-50 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action Wednesday inside Hulbert Arena.

Back on Jan. 22 at Hanover, the Panthers handed Rose a 67-62 setback that kept the pack close at the top of the HCAC standings.

Thanks to senior Julian Strickland and his Rose-Hulman teammates Wednesday, there’s not much of a pack anymore.

Making his final regular-season home appearance, the 6-foot-3 Strickland topped his pregame scoring average of 22.5 by pouring in 26 points and also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds before coming out with 9.0 seconds left. His typically solid performance helped the Engineers remain in sole possession of first place in the HCAC at 13-2.

“It was real sweet,” Strickland reflected afterward. “But like coach [Jim Shaw] said, we want to be back [in Hulbert Arena] for the conference tournament.”

As usual, the regular-season champion will serve as host for the semifinals and championship game of the HCAC tournament, which will get started later this month.

Defiance, which knocked off Earlham on Wednesday, trails Rose by one game at 12-3. Everyone else, including Hanover, is at least three games out — with three games to go for each team.

“We just have to win every game,” Shaw insisted after being reminded of this situation. “Defiance is right on our heels. People get caught up in the fact that we did sweep Defiance, so we’d get the tiebreaker with them [on hosting the conference tournament].

“But we have to win games to be a game or more ahead of them. They’ve got games coming up that I think they’ll win. I think Defiance will win out [in the regular season].”

On Wednesday, Hanover jumped ahead 5-0 in the first minute. But the home team answered with eight straight points on an inside bucket by Jimmy Miller, a jump hook by Alec Houpt, two free throws by Tyler Duffy and a short jumper by Duffy.

The Engineers gradually stretched that 8-5 advantage to 22-18 (on a 3-pointer by Strickland from the right wing) and 30-22 (on two free throws by Strickland) before settling on a 30-23 halftime lead.

The visitors never seriously threatened in the second half, although they did pull within 51-45 with 6:13 showing on the scoreboard after a steal and coast-to-coast layup by Kyle James.

Rose-Hulman responded with a 10-5 run to close the game. Included in the Engineers’ outburst were four charity tosses by Strickland, two free throws by Matt Loesing and fielders by Corey Povaleri and Miller.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Shaw assessed. “Hanover’s a really good team and beating really good teams is never easy. I think we’re pretty good too.

“We did a much better job defensively than we did down at Hanover. We had a much better energy level. We weren’t great offensively, but we jumped on that one guy’s shoulders on the offensive end and they couldn’t really do much about that.”

“That one guy” Shaw referred to is Strickland.

Hanover’s top scorers were James with 17 points and Desmond Marks with 12. Miller was the Engineers’ only other double-figure scorer with 10 points.

Before the game, Rose-Hulman’s six seniors — Strickland, Houpt, Jordy Martin, Jake Dodd, Brian McHugh and the injured James Pillischafske (knee) — were introduced with their parents to the crowd.

Also prior to the game, Strickland’s mother Jo’ni Kelley sang a rousing version of the national anthem. Also worth noting, several members of the institute’s student cheering section displayed “big head” cut-out photos of Rose players, a trend that has become increasingly popular at NCAA Division I colleges in recent years.

Rose-Hulman (18-4 overall) will visit Bluffton on Saturday, with tipoff slated for 3 p.m. Hanover (14-8, 10-5) will play host to Anderson on Saturday.


HANOVER COLLEGE (50) — Billups 1-3 0-0 2, Rieger 1-4 2-2 5, Marks 5-5 2-4 12, Bass 3-7 1-2 8, James 7-12 1-2 17, Crabtree 1-2 0-1 2, Black 0-2 1-2 1, Steinhart 0-0 0-0 0, Bingham 0-1 0-0 0, Van Kleunen 0-1 0-0 0, Muchmore 0-1 3-6 3. Totals 18-38 FG, 10-19 FT, 50 TP.

ROSE-HULMAN (61) — Miller 4-8 2-3 10, Houpt 4-8 0-0 8, Martin 2-5 0-0 4, Strickland 7-14 10-12 26, Duffy 1-2 2-2 4, Dodd 0-1 0-0 0, Stallings 0-0 0-0 0, Povaleri 1-3 2-2 4, McHugh 0-0 0-0 0, Wojcik 1-1 0-0 3, Hallstein 0-1 0-2 0, Loesing 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 20-43 FG, 18-23 FT, 61 TP.

3-point shooting — HC 4-10 (James 2-4, Bass 1-1, Rieger 1-2, Bingham 0-1, Black 0-2), RH 3-9 (Strickland 2-5, Wojcik 1-1, Miller 0-1, Dodd 0-1, Hallstein 0-1). FG Pct. — HC .474, RH .465. 3-pt. FG Pct. — HC .400, RH .333. FT Pct. — HC .526, RH .783. Total fouls — HC 16, RH 18. Fouled out — Duffy. Rebounds — HC 19 (Marks 5, Rieger 4), RH 34 (Strickland 8, Miller 5, Houpt, Wojcik and Loesing 4). Assists — HC 8 (Bass 3), RH 9 (Miller and Martin 3). Steals — HC 5 (Bass 2), RH 7 (Miller 2). Turnovers — HC 12, RH 11. Blocks — HC 1 (Rieger 1), RH 0. Att. — 600.