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February 22, 2014

Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title

CINCINNATI — Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.

Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.

Rose-Hulman and Defiance share the HCAC title with identical 15-3 conference seasons, but the Engineers will host the league tournament by virtue of sweeping the regular-season series between the two squads.

The two teams may face again next Saturday night. Rose will face the winner of Tuesday’s opening-round matchup between Mount St. Joseph and Transylvania. The semifinal matchup will tip shortly after 8 p.m. Friday in Hulbert Arena.

The remainder of the tournament features Defiance, with a first-round bye, facing the winner of Tuesday’s game between Hanover and Franklin at 6 p.m. Friday in Hulbert Arena.

The winner of the six-team tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

On Saturday, Mount St. Joseph placed four players in double figures and held the Engineers to 38-percent shooting from the field in the win. David Mann led the Lions with 17 points, Femi Thompson added 14, Joel Scudder scored 12 and Ken Kunkel had 11.

Rose-Hulman’s loss snapped its winning streak at eight games. The Engineers will enter the HCAC tournament with 17 wins in their last 19 contests.

Senior Julian Strickland led the Rose offense with 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field. Strickland also hit three trifectas and led the team with four assists.

Senior Alec Houpt contributed 18 points and seven rebounds to the effort on 8 of 11 from the field. Sophomore Tyler Duffy added 11 points.

Rose-Hulman outrebounded the Lions 36-26, but Mount St. Joseph hit 21 of 24 free throws to provide a significant portion of its offense.

Rose jumped out to an early 13-5 lead before Mount St. Joseph scored seven straight points to close within 15-12.  The Engineers pushed the lead to seven points at 28-21, but the Lions answered with six straight points to move within 28-27 at the break.

Mount St. Joseph opened the second half on an 11-4 run to take a 38-32 lead on a 3-pointer by Mann before Rose-Hulman trimmed the margin to six points at 47-41 on a Strickland 3-pointer. The Lions responded with a 9-0 run to push the lead to 15 points and eventually secured the victory.

ROSE-HULMAN (57) — Strickland 8-18 4-6 23, Houpt 7-10 1-2 15, Duffy 3-7 4-4 11, Miller 1-7 3-4 5, Hallstein 1-3 0-0 3, Martin 0-4 0-0 0, McHugh 0-0 0-0 0, Wojcik 0-1 0-0 0, Loesing 0-0 0-1 0, Povaleri 0-1 0-0 0, Stallings 0-0 0-0 0, Dodd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 FG, 12-17 FT, 57 TP.

MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (69) — Mann 5-11 2-2 17, Thompson 4-8 5-5 14, Scudder 1-4 10-11 12, Kunkel 4-5 1-2 11, Countryman 2-5 1-2 5, Allen 1-5 2-2 4, Combs 2-2 0-0 4, Murdock 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 20-44 FG, 21-24 FT, 69 TP.

Halftime score — RH 28, MSJ 27. 3-point shooting — RH 5-17 (Strickland 3-7, Hallstein 1-2, Duffy 1-2, Wojcik 0-1, Povaleri 0-1, Martin 0-2, Miller 0-2), MSJ 8-22 (Mann 5-9, Kunkel 2-3, Thompson 1-4, Allen 0-1, Murdock 0-3, Countryman 0-1, Scudder 0-1). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — RH 36 (Miller 10), MSJ 26 (Countryman 5). Assists — RH 12 (Strickland 4), MSJ 13 (Countryman 5). Total fouls — RH 18, MSJ 17. Att. — 220.

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