TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Rose-Hulman men's basketball team won the John Mutchner Cup on Saturday afternoon following an 88-82 win over in-state rival Earlham College. Every year, Rose-Hulman and Earlham College play for the Cup, which is named after the legendary John Mutchner. Mutchner was a standout athlete at Earlham College and was a longtime head men's basketball coach and athletic director at Rose-Hulman. Mutchner is in both schools' Athletic Hall of Fames. RHIT also honored its five seniors on Saturday afternoon as a part of Senior Day. Rose's five seniors included: Josh Richey, Aaron Eldridge, JT Whitaker, Stephen Schueth, and Kyle Steckel with a ceremony prior to tipoff.
Both teams traded several baskets to start the game. Rose-Hulman got four early points from senior JT Whitaker to help jump start the Rose-Hulman offense. The Fightin' Engineers used an 8-2 run midway through the half to jump out to a 25-19 lead. Nick McGrail and Stephen Schueth both knocked down triples to help give the Engineers a six point lead. Rose-Hulman looked poised to pull away from the Quakers after a three-pointer from Craig McGee pushed Rose's lead to 11, 39-28 with just over three minutes left to play in the half. However the Quakers ended the half on an 8-2 run, trimming the Fightin' Engineers' advantage to just five, 41-36, at halftime.
After both teams remained close midway through the second half, the Fightin' Engineers used a critical 12-2 run to extend their advantage to 71-59. The run was highlighted by three-pointers from Michael Lake, Kyle Steckel, and Charlie Aimone. Earlham did not fold and the Quakers made a late push behind numerous baskets from Elijah-Wilson Thomas. EC got within four at 84-80 with 18 seconds left following a Wilson-Thomas three-pointer. Rose-Hulman iced the game with a pair of free throws from Charlie Aimone.
For the game the Fightin' Engineers shot 53% (27-51) from the floor including 53% (10-19) from downtown. Rose also made good use of the free throw line, shooting 77% (24-31) in the contest. Earlham also shot well for the game, shooting 50% (30-60) from the floor. The Quakers also went 9-20 (45%) from three-point territory and went 13-16 (81%) from the charity stripe. Rose-Hulman managed to out rebound Earlham College 36-26.
Both Nick McGrail and Charlie Aimone scored 17 points to lead Rose-Hulman. Aimone chipped in four rebounds and two assists. McGrail grabbed six rebounds in the win. John Czarnecki scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Eli Combs finished with 10 points and four boards. Craig McGee filled the stat sheet with eight points, nine assists, and six rebounds.
Elijah Wilson-Thomas led four Earlham Quakers in double figures with 23 points.
The win improved Rose-Hulman to 15-8, 13-3 HCAC. Earlham fell to 6-17, 4-12 HCAC. Rose-Hulman will be back in action on Wednesday February 14 against Anderson University. Tip from Hulbert Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.