TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology moved into sole possession of first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a come-from-behind 74-71 overtime win at Franklin College on Wednesday night.
The victory, combined with a Transylvania loss at Mount St. Joseph, puts Rose-Hulman in the HCAC lead at 6-1 in conference play. Anderson, Bluffton, Hanover and Transylvania are all one game behind the Engineers at 5-2 in league play.
The game was tight throughout, with the score tied 30-30 at the half and 64-64 at the end of regulation. Rose-Hulman rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final five minutes of regulation to turn a 58-51 deficit into extra time. Charlie Aimone scored the final two points of regulation from the free throw line to tie the score at 64-64, before both teams went scoreless on their final possession.
In overtime, Rose-Hulman held a five-point lead at 71-66 with Aimone scoring the first seven points of overtime. Bennie Patterson drained a three-pointer to knot the score at 71-71 with 31 seconds remaining in the extra session to set the stage for Rose-Hulman's last possession.
With time running out, Craig McGee made a pass to junior Michael Lake, who scored on a layup and was fouled in the final second of the game. Lake buried a free throw, and Franklin missed a well-guarded desperation three-pointer at the buzzer as Rose-Hulman held on for its sixth straight victory.
Ryuji Aoki led the Rose-Hulman offense with a career-high 25 points on 10-15 from the field and 3-6 from three-point range. Aimone also crossed the 20-point mark with a season-best 24 points on 7-16 from the field and 4-8 from long distance.
Franklin featured four players in double figures, led by Matt Krause with 14 points and Patterson with 12.
Other key contributors for the Engineers included McGee with eight points and four steals; Eli Combs with five points and a career-high 11 rebounds; and Nick McGrail with four points and eight rebounds. Lake made his lone three points of the game count with the game winning shot and also had three assists.
Rose-Hulman improved to 10-4 and 6-1 in league play with its sixth straight win and its eighth victory in the last nine games. Franklin dropped to 4-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play. The Fightin' Engineers return to action at Bluffton University on Saturday afternoon.