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Men's Basketball Tops Hanover in HCAC Tournament Opening Round

VIDEO: GAME CLINCHING JUMPER BY CRAIG MCGEE

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- An explosive 27-3 run midway through the game, and a key basket in the final seconds, proved the difference as Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinal Round with a 69-63 win over Hanover College on Friday night at Transylvania University.

Hanover led 33-19 with four minutes left in the opening half, before a 27-3 run featuring six three-pointers put the Engineers ahead 46-36 just four minutes into the second half.  Senior Eli Combs sparked the run with 11 points in that four-minute span.

The game settled down into a tight contest in the final five minutes, with Rose-Hulman holding a narrow 65-63 advantage in the final minute.  The Fightin' Engineers had possession, and Craig McGee hit the biggest shot of the night with 19 seconds to give Rose-Hulman a 67-63 lead.

After a defensive stop, McGee hit two free throws to give the Fightin' Engineers their final margin of victory.  Rose-Hulman advances to the HCAC Tournament Semifinal Round, facing second-seeded Franklin College at 7 pm on Saturday.

McGee recorded his second triple-double of the season and just the second in Rose-Hulman history with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the effort.  Michael Lake added 16 points on five three-point shots, and Eli Combs scored all 14 of his points in the second half.

Zach Callahan added seven points for Rose-Hulman, and John Czarnecki contributed six points for the Engineers.  Hanover was led by Isaac Hibbard with 17 points.

Rose-Hulman improved to 14-12 and secured its 10th consecutive winning season with the victory.  Hanover finished its season 17-9 after winning the last three HCAC Tournament championships.

Rose-Hulman will face Franklin on Saturday at 7 pm in semifinal round action.  The HCAC Championship Game is set for 2:30 pm on Sunday at Transylvania.