BLUFFTON, Ohio -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology had its six-game men's basketball winning streak snapped in a narrow 55-49 loss at Bluffton University on Saturday afternoon.
Bluffton joined Rose-Hulman in a multiple-way tie atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings at 6-2 with the result. The Beavers held the Fightin' Engineers to 34% from the field and hit all eight of their free throw attempts to pick up the home win.
Ryuji Aoki led the Rose-Hulman offense with 15 points and a team-high three steals. The Fightin' Engineers also had a pair of double-doubles, with Craig McGee tallying 13 points and 10 rebounds to join John Czarnecki with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the effort. Charlie Aimone pitched in with five points and three rebounds for the Engineers.
Bluffton also placed three starters in double figures to pick up the victory. Andrew Renner and Aaron Rich scored 17 points each, and Jameel Cosby added 13 for the Beavers.
Bluffton held an 11-point lead at 33-22 at the intermission and maintained a 43-34 advantage with 7:51 left. The Fightin' Engineers then made an 8-0 run, featuring two layups by Czarnecki, a layup by McGee, and two free throws from McGee to move within 43-42 at the 4:23 mark.
Bluffton pushed the lead back to 51-42 with 1:20 left after an 8-0 run of its own, but Rose-Hulman answered with five quick points to close within 51-47 at the 1:00 mark. Callahan hit two free throws, and McGee scored off a Jacob Back steal to bring the deficit to within four.
Rose-Hulman had a pair of offensive possessions in the final minute to bring the deficit closer, but Bluffton relied on a strong defensive effort and four free throws to secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman stands 10-5 and 6-2 in HCAC play, while Bluffton improved to 12-3 and 6-2 in league games. The Fightin' Engineers return home on Wednesday to face Anderson University at 7:30 p.m.