News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 25, 2013

Rose-Hulman scrapes by against ninth-place Manchester

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Nobody said leading a league was easy. It certainly wasn’t for Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team Thursday in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference battle against ninth-place Manchester.

A battle is just what it was, one in which the Engineers’ defense had to hold sway.

Manchester struggled to gain an offensive foothold for the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Engineers built a 10-point lead and then held on for dear life as a late Manchester surge fell short in a 55-53 Rose-Hulman victory at Hulbert Arena.

Julian Strickland led the Engineers (16-2, 10-1) with 15 points. Brenton Balsbaugh added 11. Greg Flores led Manchester (4-14, 1-10) with 13 points.

Manchester missed 14 of its first 18 shots in the second half, which was enough to give HCAC leaders Rose-Hulman the chance to break a halftime deadlock.

Rose-Hulman coach Jim Shaw wasn’t pleased with Rose-Hulman’s performance. Despite the win, he feels the Engineers — who survived an overtime home win over Bluffton last Saturday — is “treading water.”

“We played pretty well defensively in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but overall I’m not pleased defensively. Or offensively. Or special teams. I thought our punt coverage was bad today,” Shaw said.

Shaw joked, but the Engineers’ inconsistency was no laughing matter.

The Engineers struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 33.3 percent against Manchester’s solid defense. Included was an ice-cold 1-of-8, first-half shooting slump from 3-point range. Manchester’s lead peaked at 19-11.

Two things kept the Engineers even at halftime with a 25-25 deadlock. One was the ability to get to the line. The Engineers converted 11 of 13.

The other factor was Nate Gissentanner. The senior forward scored Rose-Hulman’s last seven points before halftime, all of the production coming in the last 1:42 of the half. Gissentanner’s 3-pointer with :04 left pulled the Engineers even at the break. Gissentanner scored all seven of his points in that stretch.

The Engineers took the lead for good at the 15:34 mark of the second half when Balsbaugh converted a putback. Manchester would go seven minutes without a field goal and the Engineers would push the lead to 10 by the 5:18 mark.

Manchester, which plays the same motion offense and man-to-man defense that Rose-Hulman employs, finally began to find the scoring touch in the last five minutes. Rose-Hulman’s lead was still a seven-point gap with two minutes left, but a 7-0 Manchester run cut Rose-Hulman’s lead to 54-51 with 1:11 to go.

When James Pillischafske missed a 3-point attempt at :32, Manchester had a chance to tie the game, but Silas Sims’ 3-point effort with :11 left was off-balance. A Strickland free throw with 7.6 left sealed the Spartans’ fate.

Manchester’s competitiveness in Hulbert Arena should come as no surprise despite its lowly status in the HCAC. The Spartans’ other HCAC win was at second-place Transylvania.

Rose-Hulman next plays host to Mount St. Joseph on Saturday. In the meantime, Shaw wants to try to get the Engineers to play to their potential.

“[The players] know as much as anybody that we’re not playing as well as we’re capable of. I’m pleased with our record, but I don’t like where we’re at, because I don’t like treading water. I like getting better,” Shaw said.



MANCHESTER (53) — Sims 4-10 0-0 9, Odle 0-0 0-0 0, Dolezal 3-6 0-0 7, Flores 5-6 2-4 13, Jackson 2-7 0-0 5, House 0-0 0-1 0, Aguirre 2-4 0-0 5, Barry 0-0 0-0 0, Schrock 0-4 1-2 1, Newlin 1-3 2-2 5, Feitshans 1-2 0-0 2, Thompson 1-2 4-4 6. 19-44 FG, 9-13 FT, 53 TP.

ROSE-HULMAN (55) — Gerken 1-3 2-2 4, Balsbaugh 5-6 1-2 11, Weatherford 2-11 5-6 9, Pillischafske 1-3 0-0 3, Strickland 4-13 7-8 15, Dodd 2-2 0-0 4, Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Gissentanner 2-5 2-2 7, Miller 1-3 0-1 2. 18-46 FG, 17-21 FT, 55 TP.

Halftime score — 25-25. 3-point shooting — MU 6-21 (Newlin 1-1, Flores 1-2, Dolezal 1-2, Aguirre 1-3, Sims 1-6, Jackson 1-6, Thompson 0-1), RHIT 2-11 (Gissentanner 1-1, Pillischafske 1-3, Gerken 0-1, Strickland 0-1, Weatherford 0-5). Rebounds — MU 24 (Sims 4, Schrock 4), RHIT 33 (Balsbaugh 8, team 8, Gerken 4, Miller 4, Gissentanner 3, Pillischafske 2, Weatherford, Strickland, Dodd, Martin), Assists — MU 9 (Flores 2, Newlin 2, Thompson 2), RHIT 11 (Weatherford 3, Gerken 2, Strickland 2, Pillischafske, Martin, Gissentanner, Miller), Steals — MU 5 (Dolezal, Aguirre, Newlin, Feitshans, Thompson), RHIT 2 (Dodd 2), Blocks — MU 2 (Schrock, Newlin), RHIT 3 (Balsbaugh 2, Dodd), Turnovers — MU 10 (Flores 3), RHIT 10 (Weatherford 2, Strickland 2, Gissentanner 2, Miller 2, Gerken, Pillischafske), Total fouls — MU 21, RHIT 15. A — 500.

Next — Rose-Hulman (16-2, 10-1) plays host to Mount St. Joseph on Saturday.