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Men's Basketball Moves Into First Place in HCAC with Key Road Win

Men's Basketball Moves Into First Place in HCAC with Key Road Win

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology moved into a first place tie in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a 66-61 road victory at Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday night.

The Fightin' Engineers moved to 9-2 in conference play with their 10th win in the last 11 games.  Mount St. Joseph fell to 9-2 with the narrow home loss, and the two teams are tied with defending league champion Hanover for first place in the conference standings.

Freshman Craig McGee returned to his hometown and led Rose-Hulman with 18 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the victory.  John Czarnecki added 17 points and three boards on 7-11 from the field.

Other key contributors for Rose-Hulman included Ryuji Aoki with nine points; and the duo of Charlie Aimone and JT Whitaker with five points each.  Nick McGrail pitched in with 10 rebounds to go along with four points.

Mount St. Joseph relied on four players in double figures to stay within striking distance.  Jordan Henry led the Lions with 15 points, followed by Jake Cropper with 13, Andrew Finley with 11 and Erik Edwards with 10.

Rose-Hulman shot 52% from the field and finished a perfect 10-10 on the free throw line in the victory.  The Fightin' Engineers also outrebounded Mount St. Joseph 38-21 in the contest.

McGrail hit a key layup with 2:40 remaining to put Rose-Hulman ahead for good at 60-59.  Czarnecki and Henry traded baskets to keep Rose-Hulman's lead at 62-61 with 1:14 left.

Aimone buried perhaps the biggest shot of the game, a long two-pointer with 45 seconds remaining, to push the Engineers advantage to 64-61.  Finley missed a potential game tying three pointer, McGee grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to secure Rose-Hulman's final margin of victory.

The Fightin' Engineers improved to 11-7 overall and 9-2 in HCAC play, while Mount St. Joseph fell to 12-6 and 9-2 in league games.  Rose-Hulman hosts Transylvania University at Hulbert Arena on Saturday at 3 p.m.