FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Franklin College hit key back-to-back three-pointers late in the second half, then relied on a strong defensive effort down the stretch to top Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 75-64 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Wednesday night.
Rose-Hulman trimmed a double-figure deficit down to just one point at 57-56 on a three-pointer by Charlie Aimone with 3:34 remaining. Franklin answered with back-to-back three-pointers from Sam Gutierrez and Jordan Anderson to take a 63-56 lead with 2:40 remaining.
Franklin continued its late-game run with a 7-2 spurt over the next 90 seconds to claim a 70-58 lead and secure the victory.
Despite the loss, Rose-Hulman remains in a three-way tie for first place in the HCAC standings at 12-3. The Fightin' Engineers are knotted with Mount St. Joseph and Hanover with three games remaining in the regular season. The league regular season champion will host the HCAC Tournament on Feb. 23-24.
Freshman Craig McGee led the Fightin' Engineers with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Aimone added 18 points on 8-13 from the field. Other key contributors included Michael Lake with seven points; Ryuji Aoki with six points; and Nick McGrail with five points and two rebounds.
Anderson led the Franklin offense with 20 points, and Gutierrez pitched in 16 for the winners. Atticus Felling came off the bench with 15 points, and Borden Kennedy also reached double figures with 11.
Rose-Hulman stands 14-8 and 12-3 in HCAC play, while Franklin improved to 8-14 and 7-8 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers host Earlham College in the John Mutchner Cup Game and the Senior Day Game on Saturday at 4 p.m.