HANOVER, Ind. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology completed its seventh consecutive winning season with a narrow 71-66 loss to Transylvania University in the opening round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at Hanover College on Friday night.
Rose-Hulman finished the campaign with a 14-12 record and its seventh consecutive season qualifying for the HCAC Tournament. Rusty Loyd also led the squad to its third winning season in three years as Fightin' Engineer head coach.
Sophomore Charlie Aimone led the Rose-Hulman offense with 20 points. Senior Collin Wojcik also reached double figures with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Senior Wade Stallings contributed nine points and six assists to the effort.
The tightly contested game featured five ties and nine lead changes. Transylvania relied on 12 three-point field goals and four starters in double figures to earn the victory. Gabe Schmitt scored 21 points to lead the Pioneers in scoring.
The matchup between the tournaments fourth and fifth seeds lived up to its billing as a competitive game with Rose-Hulman leading 30-28 at the half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Aimone, a basket by Nick McGrail and a trey by Stephen Schueth gave the Engineers a 41-30 edge with 18:23 remaining.
Transylvania answered with a 13-2 run to knot the score at 43-43 with 14:26 left. The Pioneers captured the lead, before Rose-Hulman relied on a three-point play by Stallings and a Wojcik trey to lead 51-50 with 11:40 remaining.
Transylvania's lead reached 60-53, before Aimone hit another three-pointer to bring the margin within 60-56. Rose-Hulman closed to within three points down the stretch, before the Pioneers gained a six-point lead in the final minute to secure the win.
Transylvania improved to 17-9 and faces top-seeded Hanover on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the HCAC Semifinal Round.