MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology opened the 2018-19 men's basketball season with a 78-72 victory over LaGrange College at the Rhodes College Tip-off Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Charlie Aimone led four Fightin' Engineers in double figures with 18 points and six rebounds. Craig McGee added 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Luke Callahan contributed 13 points and six rebounds, while Ryuji Aoki also reached double figures with 15 points and five rebounds.
Rose-Hulman shot 51% from the field in the game and 53% in the opening half to build a 2-point lead at the break. Other key contributors to the Engineer offense included Nick McGrail with eight points and four rebounds; Samvit Ram with five points; and John Czarnecki with four points.
LaGrange also had four players in double figures, led by Jamison McCray with 13 points. The Panthers were limited to just 29% from three-point range by the Rose-Hulman defense.
Rose-Hulman built an early 13-5 lead after back-to-back baskets from McGrail and McGee. The Engineers pushed the lead back to eight points again at 20-12 on a layup by Aoki at the 12:26 mark of the opening half.
LaGrange took the lead with a 13-2 run, but Rose-Hulman scored the last seven points of the first half to take a 41-39 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the two teams battled within one possession for most of the second half, before Callahan tied the score at 65-65 on a layup with 5:41 left. Rose-Hulman held LaGrange without a point for the next four minutes and relied on four points from McGee and a Callahan jumper to gain a 71-65 lead in the final two minutes.
With the score standing at 71-69, Callahan hit the key shot of the day on a layup with 21 seconds remaining to give Rose-Hulman a four-point lead. The Engineers hit three free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Rose-Hulman stands 1-0 and advances to face Louisiana College in the championship game of the Rhodes College Invitational on Sunday at 2 p.m. Central Time.