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Men's Basketball Knocks Off Hanover in Battle of HCAC Co-Leaders

Men's Basketball Knocks Off Hanover in Battle of HCAC Co-Leaders

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology remained tied for first in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball standings with a 74-68 victory over Hanover College on Wednesday night at Hulbert Arena.

Craig McGee led the Rose-Hulman scoring attack with 18 points along with five rebounds.  Ryuji Aoki scored 17 points, and Charlie Aimone added 11 as three Fightin' Engineers scored in double figures.

Nick McGrail added nine points and 10 rebounds, Zach Callahan provided a spark off the bench with eight points in 13 minutes, and John Czarnecki pitched in with seven points and six rebounds to balance the Rose-Hulman offense.

Preseason All-American Cam Fails led the Hanover offense with 20 points and six assists.  Isaac Hibbard scored 15 points, and Kevin Williams reached double figures with 12 points for the Panthers.

The two teams battled through a tightly contested matchup most of the way, with Hanover holding a two-point lead 37-35 at the half.  The score remained tight early in the second half as a Hibbard basket knotted the score at 51-51 with 10:47 remaining.

Rose-Hulman called a timeout and answered with the game's key run, a 9-2 spurt that gave Rose-Hulman the lead at 60-53 on a conventional three-point play by Aoki. Hanover answered with a three-pointer, and Rose-Hulman scored seven straight points to push the lead to 67-56 with 2:59 remaining.  McGee scored one field goal, Aimone buried a three-pointer, and Aoki capped the rally with two free throws.

Hanover trimmed the margin to five points at 71-66 in a three-pointer by Fails in the final minute, but one free throw by Czarnecki and two by McGrail completed the Engineer scoring.

Rose-Hulman improved to 8-4 and 4-1 in HCAC play, while Hanover dropped to 8-4 and 3-2 in league games.  The Fightin' Engineers return to action on Saturday at home against Earlham College at 4 p.m.