Down three, the Engineers were a couple seconds away from suffering their second conference loss of the season and giving up sole possession of their spot atop the HCAC standings.
But when you put the ball in the hands of 1,000-point club member Austin Weatherford, two seconds is plenty of time to get a good – well, apparently good enough – look at the basket. As time expired from the game clock, the buzzer was drowned out by the roar of the crowd as the well-defended three-pointer soared over the head of the Bluffton defender and swished through the net to force overtime.
The Engineers fed off the momentum to decide the game in overtime, outscoring the Beavers 10-7 to grab their 13th win in 14 games, outfighting a stunned Bluffton team for the 67-64 victory.
Weatherford led all scorers with 19 points, and junior Julian Strickland followed closely with 15 points and four assists. The remaining starters provided key points, as junior James Pillischafske added seven, and seniors Brenton Balsbaugh and Jon Gerken each put up six.
Senior Nate Gissentanner came off the bench with nine points, and junior Alec Houpt provided even more depth with five points and a pair of rebounds.
The win wasn’t typical for the No. 1 defense in the nation, as the Beavers outscored the Engineers’ average scoring defense by nearly 20 points, but last-second buckets are starting to look common for the history-making squad. Early in the season, Gerken put up a buzzer-beating layup to top Hanover 62-61.
Weatherford’s crowd-rocking trey can be viewed online at the Rose-Hulman Athletics website and is also featured on D3Hoops.com’s collection of buzzer beaters.
Following the exhilarating win, the Engineers continued their run of three consecutive home games with their second matchup of the season against Manchester.
The game was a battle from beginning to end, but the Engineers reclaimed the lead five minutes into the second half and held on to top the Spartans 55-53.
Strickland led all scorers with 15 points, and Balsbaugh was key inside with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The pair of wins pushed the Engineers to 10-1 in the HCAC; Rose-Hulman retains a one-game lead over Transylvania and Hanover in league standings and would clinch a spot in the postseason conference tournament with a win on Saturday against College of Mount St. Joseph.
But, the Engineers are on a roll, looking to lock down the regular season title and the opportunity to host the tournament as well. Matchups on the road against Transylvania and Hanover in February will be pivotal in securing the title as the regular season comes to a close.
Saturday’s Senior Day game will tip off following the women’s contest in Hulbert Arena, as Rose-Hulman looks to sweep College of Mount St. Joseph who they toppled on the road earlier this month with a 52-36 win.

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