DEFIANCE, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) buried two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining, and the Fightin' Engineers defended the game's final possession to earn a 58-57 men's basketball victory at Defiance College on Saturday.
Defiance led 57-56 with 7.6 seconds remaining, when senior Ryan Hicks was fouled and sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. Hicks missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Miller was fouled on the rebound attempt.
After a Yellow Jackets timeout, Miller swished both free throws to put Rose-Hulman ahead 58-57. Defiance junior Travis Schomaeker missed an off-balance 22-foot shot from the right wing at the buzzer, as the Fightin' Engineers improved to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
The victory marked Rose-Hulman seventh consecutive win and kept the Fightin' Engineers in a tie for first place in the HCAC standings. Defiance remains in the top half of the league standings at 9-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play after the narrow loss.
The Fightin' Engineers took advantage of a 17-20 performance on the free throw line and a 35-19 rebounding edge to earn the close victory.
Senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) led a balanced scoring attack for Rose-Hulman with 11 points on 7-8 from the free throw line. Senior Alec Houpt (Chesterton) added eight points on 4-6 from the field.
Freshman Collin Wojcik (Schererville/Andrean) added seven points off the bench on 5-5 from the foul line. Miller scored six points on 4-4 from the line, and sophomore Tyler Duffy (Fishers/Hamilton Southeastern) also scored six points. A total of 10 Rose-Hulman players scored in the game.
Ryan Hicks led the Defiance offense with 19 points on 9-17 from the field. Bernard Edwards also scored 15 points on 6-9 for the Yellow Jackets. The contest featured a total of 12 ties and six lead changes, including two ties and five lead changes in the final three minutes.
Defiance jumped out to a 10-6 lead midway through the first, before five points by freshman Wade Stallings (Indianapolis/North Central) and scores by Duffy and junior Michael Hallstein (Hopedale, Ill./Olympia) put Rose-Hulman ahead 15-10.
The Yellow Jackets regained the lead at 19-17, before Rose-Hulman held Defiance to two points over five minutes to build a 24-21 edge. Two free throws by Wojcik and another Hallstein basket gave the Fightin' Engineers a 30-26 lead at the break.
Rose-Hulman twice built the lead up to nine points in the second half, including 40-31 at the 13:26 mark on two free throws by Wojcik. Defiance whittled away at the deficit before claiming the lead at 51-50 on a layup by Noah Reed at the 3:04 mark.
Strickland buried two free throws with 2:00 left to put Rose-Hulman ahead again at 55-54, but Defiance regained the lead at 57-54 with 18 seconds left on a jumper by Edwards and two free throws by Reed.
Senior Jordy Martin (New Albany) drove for a layup with 7.6 seconds remaining to bring Rose-Hulman to within 57-56. A foul on the subsequent in-bounds pass to Hicks set up the final game sequence.
Rose-Hulman remains in a three-way tie for first place in the HCAC standings with Hanover and Mount St. Joseph after today's win. The Fightin' Engineers return to action at home against Franklin College on Wednesday.