TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Carroll University withstood a last minute challenge by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to earn a 67-64 men's basketball victory in the Fightin' Engineer home opener on Saturday afternoon.
Carroll held a 65-64 lead in the final minute, when sophomore Jimmy Miller (Indianapolis/North Central) rimmed out a potential go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds remaining. The rebounded was tipped into the frontcourt for a dunk by Andrew Nottling to put the Pioneers ahead 67-64 with 13 seconds left.
Following a timeout, senior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) rimmed out a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds that was rebounded by Christian Shepley to secure the win for Carroll, a 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifying team.
Strickland led the Rose-Hulman offense with 30 points for his second consecutive 30-point outing. The preseason All-American finished 9-18 from the field and 10-11 from the free throw line with four assists and three steals in 37 minutes.
Miller added nine points to the Engineer offense, and senior Alec Houpt (Chesterton) scored eight points on 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line in his season debut. Houpt just rejoined the men's basketball team after completing a successful season on the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen soccer team that completed its campaign last weekend.
Sophomore Tyler Duffy (Fishers/Hamilton Southeastern) added career-highs of seven points and three rebounds, along with three assists, in his first college start.
Alec Molter led the Carroll offense with 20 points and seven rebounds. Brandon Ehrke came off the bench for 10 point, and Shepley scored nine for the Pioneers.
Carroll relied on hot shooting to earn the victory. The Pioneers connected on 78% of their shots in the first half and hit 68% for the game. Carroll also held a 28-13 rebounding advantage, and the Rose-Hulman remained in the contest by committing just five turnovers in the game.
The Fightin' Engineers finished 48% from the field, hit 5-12 three-point tries and were 17-20 from the foul line on the afternoon.
Rose-Hulman jumped out to a 15-10 lead in the first six minutes, before Carroll knotted the score at 15-15 on a score by Nottling at the 12:52 mark. The Engineers regained three-point first half leads on scores by sophomore Matt Loesing (Elsberry, Mo.) and Strickland.
Carroll bounced back to take a 39-36 lead at the break after a corner shot by Ehrke in the final seconds of the first half.
In the second half, Carroll pushed its lead to seven points at 47-40, before four straight points from Strickland brought Rose-Hulman back within 49-47 at the 12:29 mark. The battle continued back-and-worth within two possessions until a score by Houpt knotted the contest at 60-60 with 6:05 left.
Carroll scored five straight points and held the Engineers without a point for the next four minutes to take a 65-60 advantage, before Houpt brought Rose-Hulman within 65-62. Two free throws by Strickland with 49 seconds remaining brought the margin to 65-64 and set the stage for the final possessions.
Carroll improved to 3-1 on the season, while Rose-Hulman dropped to 1-2. The Fightin' Engineers host Wabash College on Monday at 7:30 at Hulbert Arena.