TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology remained in a share of first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a 70-69 victory over Transylvania University on Saturday afternoon at Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman buried nine three-pointers and hit 21-31 free throws, before withstanding a late charge by the visiting Pioneers to secure their 11th win in the last 12 games.
Junior Charlie Aimone led the Fightin' Engineers with a double-double featuring 19 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore John Czarnecki added 16 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Craig McGee was also in double figures with 11 points and five assists.
Other key contributors for Rose-Hulman included Ryuji Aoki with nine points on a trio of three-pointers; Stephen Schueth with seven points, six rebounds and five assists; and Eli Combs with five points and two rebounds.
Transylvania placed four players in double figures with a balanced scoring attack. Cooper Theobald scored a game-high 20 points, followed by Bo Schuh with 13 points. Gabe Schmitt and Devin Twenty added 11 points each for the Pioneers.
The two teams battled through a defensively minded first half with the score knotted at 26-26. Aimone opened the second half with nine straight points over 2:30 to push Rose-Hulman's lead to 35-26.
The Rose-Hulman lead stayed at nine points at 45-36 on a Czarnecki layup with 10:33 left. A pair of free throws from Czarnecki pushed Rose-Hulman's lead to double figures at 52-41 with 7:45 remaining.
Transylvania closed within 59-54, before a key three-pointer from Schueth gave the Fightin' Engineers a 62-54 edge with 2:16 left. The lead remained at eight points at 67-59, before five points from Twenty brought Transylvania back to within 67-64 with 18 seconds left.
Schueth hit one of two free throws, and Spencer McKinney scored quickly to make Transylvania's deficit just 68-66 with seven seconds left. Aimone hit two free throws, and Theobald answered with a three-pointer to make the score 70-69 with three seconds remaining before Rose-Hulman was able to run out the clock.
The Fightin' Engineers improved to 12-7 overall and 10-2 in league play, while Transylvania dropped to 13-6 and 8-4. The Fightin' Engineers return to action on Wednesday with another key home game, a showdown with co-first place team Hanover at 7:30 p.m.