HANOVER, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology led for much of the second half, before a Hanover College rally sparked the host Panthers to a 72-68 men's basketball victory in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Wednesday night.
Rose-Hulman led 29-27 at the half and extended the lead to 13 points at 50-37 with 10:31 remaining on a jumper by Nick McGrail. Hanover answered with a 16-4 run to close within 54-53 at the 5:36 mark.
Back-to-back baskets from Michael Lake pushed the Rose-Hulman lead back to 58-53, but five straight points from Hanover forced a tie at 60-60 on a score by Cam Fails with 2:53 left. Hanover built a six-point lead at 68-62 in the final minute, before a basket from Craig McGee, a missed free throw by the Panthers, and another McGee layup brought the Engineers within 68-66 at the 14-second mark.
Matt Weimer hit a pair of free throws to give Hanover a four-point lead at 70-66. After a missed shot, McGee grabbed a rebound and scored on a putback with one second left to bring Rose-Hulman within 70-68. Fails hit two free throws in the final second to secure the Hanover victory.
John Czarnecki led the Rose-Hulman offense with a career-high 26 points. Czarnecki finished 12-17 from the field with 10 rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes of action.
McGee added a season-high 21 points on 8-14 from the field. Lake contributed seven points, three rebounds and three assists. Charlie Aimone contributed seven rebounds and six assists to the Fightin' Engineer effort.
Fails led the Hanover offense with 24 points and 11 assists. Kevin Williams reached double figures with 14 points for Hanover, and Isaac Hibbard pitched in with 10 points.
Hanover (16-4) took a two-game lead in the HCAC standings with an 11-2 mark after its 8th straight victory. Rose-Hulman (13-7) dropped into a tie for second in the league at 9-4 and will host league contender Bluffton University on Saturday at 3 p.m.