DEFIANCE, Ohio -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology advanced to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game for the fourth time in the last five years with a 60-47 victory at top-seeded Defiance College on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman will compete for its fourth HCAC Tournament championship and fourth NCAA Division III Tournament in the last five years at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The opponent will be second-seeded Mount St. Joseph, a 71-65 winner over Defiance in the second semifinal game.
Rose-Hulman shot 61% from the field and hit 11-14 free throws in the second half to turn a 26-26 halftime tie into a 13-point victory. The Fightin' Engineers also avenged a narrow 73-72 loss at the buzzer from last Saturday that allowed Defiance to serve as host for the HCAC Tournament.
The Rose-Hulman defense was the key to victory, as the Fightin' Engineers held Defiance to just 33% from the field. Tyler Alexander led Defiance with 21 points, but no other Yellow Jacket scored more than seven.
Rose-Hulman also outrebounded Defiance by five and committed two less turnovers than the Yellow Jackets.
The Fightin' Engineers led 44-42 after Alexander scored with 6:50 remaining. Rose-Hulman held Defiance to just three points over the next five minutes and went on a 10-3 run to take a 54-45 lead with 1:21 left to secure the victory.
Rose-Hulman stands 17-10 on the season, while Defiance completed its season at 15-11.