Franklin, Ind. - The Franklin College men's basketball team qualified for next week's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) tournament despite falling 71-69 to No. 24-ranked Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Senior Night from the Spurlock Center.
Franklin (10-14, 7-10 HCAC) is tied for fifth place in the conference with Transylvania University. The Grizzlies qualified for the conference tournament behind Anderson University's loss at the College of Mount St. Joseph on Wednesday.
Using a 10-0, Franklin took a 59-50 lead with 6:53 remaining. The Grizzlies led 62-55 at the 3:55 mark following a pair of free throws by senior Bailey Howard (Nashville, Ind./Brown County).
Howard converted a layup to once again push the lead to seven points, 64-57, with 3:19 left.
Rose-Hulman answered with a 10-0 run and held Franklin scoreless over the next two minutes. A three-point play by Julian Strickland tied the game at 64-64 with 1:46 left. Strickland later converted three free throws to push the visitors ahead 67-64 with 50 seconds remaining.
Franklin's Howard drained two free throws to cut the deficit to 67-66 with 42 seconds left. Rose-Hulman's Corey Povaleri and Tyler Duffy made two free throws to give Rose-Hulman a 71-66 advantage with 24 seconds left.
Howard answered with a three-point field goal with 21 seconds left to trim the lead to 71-69. Senior J.T. Barton (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) stole the inbounds pass and called timeout to give possession back to the Grizzlies. Howard missed a game-tying jumper from the paint with two seconds left.
Howard led the Grizzlies with 18 points. Senior Terry Sargent (Indianapolis, Ind./Howe) added 14 points and sophomore Dion Smith (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) scored 12 points off the bench. Franklin shot 46 percent from the floor and held Rose-Hulman to 0-of-7 shooting from behind the arc.
Rose-Hulman (20-4, 15-2 HCAC) was led by Strickland with 18 points. Alex Houpt scored 14 points and Jimmy Miller had 12 points.
Franklin wraps up the regular season on Saturday, February 22 at 4 p.m. when it travels to Defiance College. Live statistics and video will be available here. In-game updates will also be available on Twitter (@FCAthletics) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinCollegeAthletics).