TERRE HAUTE, IN – The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's basketball team utilized a dominating second half effort to secure a 70-56 win over Hanover Saturday, claiming the school's third straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament title.
After a 26-26 tie at the half, the top seed Engineers outscored the Panthers 44-30 in the second half to pull out a 70-56 win at Hulbert Arena. Rose-Hulman claims the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament set to begin next week, earning its third consecutive trip to the Big Dance.
Rose-Hulman (22-5) shot the ball well from the field, posting a shooting percentage of 54.8% in the win. The Engineers connected on five of their 17 attempts from behind the arc and converted 19 of their 25 free throw attempts.
Leading the way for RHIT was senior guard Julian Strickland (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike). Strickland led the scoring attack with 26 points on eight-of-17 shooting. The senior connected on seven of his nine free throw attempts and added five rebounds, earning the tournament Most Valuable Player award for his efforts
Rose's Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) added 20 points and three rebounds in the win, earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
Hanover (19-9) was represented on the all-tournament team by juniors Tim Bass (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) and Kyle James (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central). Bass led the Panthers with 25 points and five assists, while James added 10 points and four rebounds in the title game loss Saturday night.
Defiance's Ryan Hicks (Port Clinton, Ohio/H.S.) and Mount St. Joseph's Ken Kunkel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) earned the final two spots on the all-tournament squad.
Rose-Hulman will await its first round opponent in the NCAA Division III Tournament until the bracket is released. The announcement of the Division III men's basketball field will be presented via webcast on www.ncaa.com beginning at 12:30 PM Monday.
HCAC Tournament MVP: Julian Strickland, Rose-Hulman
Rose-Hulman Head Coach Jim Shaw