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February 19, 2014

Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title

FRANKLIN — Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.

Rose held a two-point lead in the final seconds when Franklin senior Bailey Howard drove to the basket attempting to tie the game. The shot fell just short at the buzzer.

Rose-Hulman (20-4 overall, 15-2 HCAC) retained a one-game lead over Defiance in the conference standings entering Saturday’s regular-season finale at Mount St. Joseph. The Engineers hold the head-to-head tiebreak with Defiance for tournament hosting rights after sweeping the season series between them.

Senior Julian Strickland led three players in double figures with 18 points. Senior Alec Houpt added 14 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Jimmy Miller also reached double figures with 12 points.

Howard led three players in double figures with 18 points for Franklin. Terry Sargent added 14 and Dion Smith came off the bench for 12.

Rose continued its trend of second-half road comebacks to secure a share of the HCAC regular-season championship. Franklin led 59-50 at the 6:53 mark before two free throws by senior Jordy Martin and a layup by junior Michael Hallstein brought the Engineers back within five points at 59-54.

After Franklin regained a 64-57 lead with 3:19 left, Rose-Hulman answered with a 10-0 run to take a 67-64 lead with 50 seconds remaining. Sophomore Tyler Duffy buried four consecutive free throws to trim the margin to 64-59, Miller added a layup and Strickland tied the game at 64-64 with 1:46 left.

After the Engineers forced a Franklin turnover, Strickland was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. His three free throws gave Rose the edge at 67-64.

Howard answered with two free throws to bring Franklin within 67-66 at the 42-second mark, but junior Corey Povaleri answered with two free throws of his own to make the score 69-66 in favor of Rose-Hulman at the 33-second mark. Duffy added two more free throws before a Howard 3-pointer at the 21-second mark closed Franklin to within 71-69.

The Grizzlies forced a turnover on the next possession, setting the stage for the potential game-tying shot in the final seconds.

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