TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - There were plenty of smiles to go around the Rose-Hulman locker room Saturday afternoon after the Fightin' Engineers picked up a hard-fought 80-79 win over Manchester on Senior Day. The men's basketball program honored its four seniors, Gary Ulrich, Chris Schenck, Wade Stallings, and Collin Wojcik in a pregame ceremony before the game.
All four seniors started this afternoon and after Manchester scored the first basket of the game, Gary Ulrich came up with a big steal and converted a layup to tie the score at 2-2. Later on in the half, with the score 20-17 in favor of Rose-Hulman, Wade Stallings converted a pair of free-throws that helped spur a 20-7 run that lasted six minutes. During the run RHIT connected on four three-point field goals. At halftime Rose held a 44-31 advantage.
In the second half Manchester began to heat up from the field and the Spartans were able to cut into Rose-Hulman's lead. After several empty possessions the Spartans cut RHIT's lead down to six points, 52-46, with 13:06 left in regulation. After several Rose-Hulman turnovers the Spartans tied the game up at 52 with 12:28 left on the clock. However, on the next possession Luke Callahan converted a layup that put the Fightin' Engineers back on top 56-54. With 4:48 left on the clock Charlie Aimone gave the Fightin' Engineers a little bit of breathing room after a sinking a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 69-60.
Manchester would not go away. The Spartans increased their physicality and forced a few turnovers with under three minutes left to play. Kenny Doss hit two layups off of RHIT turnovers and the Spartans drew four at 73-69. Adrian made a layup in traffic on the next Manchester possession to bring the Spartans within a basket but Nick McGrail answered with a three on the next Fightin' Engineer possession to put Rose back up five, 76-71. Rose-Hulman continued to have issues with securing the ball and the Spartans took a 77-76 lead after a by Doss and a layup by Johnson.
The Spartans would foul Rose on the next possession with one minute left in the game that sent Stallings to the foul line for a pair of free throws. Stallings hit both and the Fightin' Engineers went back on top 78-77. After getting a stop on the next possessions the Engineers milked the clock. With 12 seconds remaining McGrail hit a layup that put RHIT up three, 80-77. Manchester had an open three to tie the game but that attempt bounced off the rim; Ty Alexander cleaned up the miss and scored a layup as time expired. The Fightin' Engineers held on for their 12th win of the season.
Five Engineers finished in double-figures. Aimone finished with 17 points, McGraill added 14, Wojcik scored 12, and Stallings and John Czarnecki added 10 points each. The win improved RHIT's record to 12-11, 10-6 HCAC.
The Fightin' Engineers will host Anderson on Wednesday Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Hulbert Arena.