Men's Basketball Falls in Double OT Thriller in HCAC Tournament

Men's Basketball Falls in Double OT Thriller in HCAC Tournament

HANOVER, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men's basketball season came to an end with a narrow 88-87 double overtime loss to Franklin College in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday night.

Charlie Aimone capped a historic career with 28 points in his final college game, along with six rebounds and three assists.  Aimone finishes his career ranked 10th in Rose-Hulman history with 1,369 points. 

Craig McGee contributed career-highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds, along with eight assists, to the Rose-Hulman offensive performance.  John Czarnecki also reached double figures with 14 points.

Other key contributors for the Fightin' Engineers included Michael Lake with nine points and four assists; Nick McGrail with six points and seven rebounds; and Jacob Back with six points on 3-3 from the field.

Sam Gutierrez led the Franklin offense with 29 points.  Kale Morris also added 22 points for a Grizzlies offensive performance that included four players scoring in double figures.

Rose-Hulman led by as much as eight points in the second half, before Franklin rallied to knot the score at 68-68 on a three-pointer by Morris with 1:58 left in regulation.  The Engineers held a two-point lead in the final seconds, but a Borden Kennedy layup with 11 seconds remaining tied the score at 74-74.  Aimone had a potential game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer, but the effort was partially blocked by the Franklin defense.

In the first overtime, Rose-Hulman led 80-78 before Kennedy tied the score at 80-80 on a driving score at the 37-second mark.  McGee answered with two free throws to give Rose-Hulman the lead at 82-80, but Kennedy hit two free throws of his own to tie the score at 82-82.  The Fightin' Engineers worked the ball to McGee for a three-point shot at the buzzer, but the effort rimmed out to send Rose-Hulman to its first double overtime game since the 2009 season.

In the second overtime, Franklin led 86-83 before back-to-back scores by Lake and McGee put Rose-Hulman ahead 87-86 with 1:26 remaining.  Two free throws by Gutierrez put Franklin back on top 88-87 with 34 seconds remaining.  McGee missed two well defended shots in the lane in the final seconds, including an attempt at the buzzer that was blocked.

Rose-Hulman completes the season with a 17-9 record.  Franklin improved to 12-14 and won its eighth game in the last night contests.  The Grizzlies advance to the HCAC Tournament Semifinal Round against Transylvania on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a game at Hanover.