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Men's Basketball Opens HCAC Tournament on Friday

Men's Basketball Opens HCAC Tournament on Friday





TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology opens the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament with a matchup against Transylvania University on Friday at 6 p.m.

The first round game will be part of three consecutive days of action hosted by top-seeded Hanover College.  The winner of Rose-Hulman vs. Transylvania will face the host Panthers on Saturday at 5 p.m. in semifinal action.

The Fightin' Engineers are the No. 4 seed in the six-team tournament after finishing the regular season with a 14-11 record and a 12-6 conference mark.  Transylvania is the No. 5 seed with a 16-9 record and an 11-7 conference mark.

Rose-Hulman features a one-two punch averaging double figures in scoring this season.  Sophomore Charlie Aimone averages 16.1 points per game, and senior Collin Wojcik adds 13.5.  The duo have helped the team compile a 7-1 record in their last eight games.

The recent starting lineup has included junior Stephen Schueth (7.7 ppg); senior Wade Stallings (5.8 ppg); Aimone (16.1 ppg); sophomore Nick McGrail (7.2 ppg); and freshman John Czarnecki (8.6 ppg).  Rose-Hulman has also increased its three-point shooting to 41% as a team and increased its rebounding margin to +3.5 per game during the recent streak of success.

Transylvania ran off an 11-game winning streak earlier in the season and has won three of its last four entering the conference tournament.  Cooper Theobald (16.0 ppg), Alex Jones (15.7 ppg), Kyle Gullett (13.6 ppg) and Gabe Schmitt (11.9 ppg) are all double figure scorers in the Pioneers starting lineup.

Transylvania leads the all-time series 18-10 and holds a 16-9 edge in conference play.  The teams split this year's meetings, with Rose-Hulman winning on the road 77-70 and Transylvania winning on the road 103-95.

The winner of Friday night's matchup will face Hanover on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the HCAC Semifinal Round.  The Championship Game is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday.