LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rose-Hulman made six of eight free throws over the final two minutes Saturday and held off a determined Transylvania comeback in a 54-49 win over the Pioneers in a matchup of nationally ranked teams at the Beck Center.
No. 22 Transy is 16-5, 11-3 in the Heartland Conference, after seeing its six-game win streak ended. No. 23 Rose-Hulman, which dropped a 69-60 home court decision to the Pioneers earlier this year, is 19-2, 13-1 HCAC. The Engineers have won six straight. They came into the contest leading the nation in scoring defense, allowing jut 48 points a contest.
A tight first half ended in a 24-24 deadlock. The game was tied four times in the opening 20 minutes and the lead changed hands on three occasions. Rose-Hulman, which led the Pioneers 17-2 in Terre Haute last month, jumped to a 16-5 edge in the Beck Center before Transy came back to force a 20-20 tie on a free throw by Barrett Meyer with 4:57 to go.
Transy was 10 of 21 for 48 percent in the first half while Rose was 10 of 23 for 44 percent. Each team made two three-pointers and a pair of free throws. Ethan Spurlin led Transy with eight points and Tate Cox added seven while Austin Weatherford was the leader for the Engineers with 12.
Rose started the second half with a 7-0 run and never trailed over the final 20 minutes. Transy got within one, 48-47, when Spurlin canned two free throws with 2:10 to go. But Weatherford made three of four free throws and Julian Strickland made a pair to hold off the Pioneers.
Transy's last basket was a jumper by Taylor Botkin with 15 seconds to play. Reserves Trey Beuttel and Nick Fudge came off the bench to convert crucial three-point buckets in the final five minutes.
Transy was led by Spurlin's 16 points and six rebounds and Cox added 1. Brandon Rash had seven points, six rebounds, three steals, and a block while Spurlin came up with four blocks and a steal. The Pioneers hit 19 of 42 shots overall for 45 percent.
Rose was led by Weatherford's 21 points and eight rebounds and Strickland came up with 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The Engineers hit 41 percent in the second half and 42 percent for the game.
The Engineers also had a 32-21 edge on the boards and outscored Transy11-4 in second-chance points.
Transy will face another HCAC rival on Wednesday when the Pioneers travel to Mt. St. Joseph. The Pioneers are tied with Hanover for second place in the HCAC race.