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Men's Basketball Moves Into Outright HCAC Lead with Overtime Win

Men's Basketball Moves Into Outright HCAC Lead with Overtime Win

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology moved into the outright lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a 68-66 overtime victory over Hanover College at Hulbert Arena on Wednesday night.

The victory, combined with a 66-64 win by Bluffton over Mount St. Joseph, improved the Fightin' Engineers to 11-2 in HCAC play and 13-7 overall.  Hanover and Mount St. Joseph are tied for second place in the conference, one game behind Rose-Hulman.

Freshman Craig McGee led the Fightin' Engineer offense with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists.  Sophomore John Czarnecki also reached double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Other key Rose-Hulman contributors included Eli Combs with nine points and five rebounds; Stephen Schueth with nine points, there rebounds and three assists; Charlie Aimone with six points, five rebounds and four assists; and Nick McGrail with five points and eight rebounds.

Cam Fails led four Hanover players in double figures with 25 points and six steals.  Nick White added 13 points, Isaac Hibbard scored 12 points and Wes McKinney reached double figures with 10.

Rose-Hulman relied on hot shooting in the opening 20 minutes to take a 34-30 lead at the break.  The Fightin' Engineers buried 8-of-11 three-point shots in the first half, hitting at a 73% clip.

In the second half, Rose-Hulman built a 58-52 lead with 3:43 remaining on a layup by McGee.  Hanover, a team which reached the NCAA Division III Elite Eight last season, relied on a layup from Fails and two free throws from White to close within 58-56 at the 2:09 mark.

McGrail added a free throw to push Rose-Hulman's lead to 59-56.  Hanover had one last chance to tie, and Fails buried a three-pointer from the right wing with 5.4 seconds remaining to knot the score at 59-59.

Rose-Hulman had 1.7 seconds left in regulation to try for the winning score, but a player control offensive foul gave the ball back to Hanover.  White scored just after the regulation buzzer for the Panthers, and the game went the extra five minutes.

In overtime, Rose-Hulman led 63-61 before McKinney knotted the score at 63-63 for Hanover at the 2:32 mark. 

Czarnecki put the Engineers back on top at 65-63 with two free throws with 1:55 remaining.  After a key stop, McGee put Rose-Hulman up by five at 68-63 with 1:22 remaining on a three-point field goal.

Fails responded with a free throw, and McKinney hit two free throws of his own to bring Hanover within 68-66 with six seconds left.  An outlet pass to McGee allowed Rose-Hulman to run out the clock and secure the win.

Rose-Hulman improved to 13-7 with its 12th win in the last 13 games.  Hanover had a seven-game winning streak snapped and fell to 15-5 and 10-3 in league play.  The Fightin' Engineers return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bluffton University.