Kurtis Zimmerman - news editor emeritus
A storm is brewing in Lexington this weekend.The Engineers reentered the D3Hoops.com Top 25 poll this week at No. 23. But look one spot up, and you find none other than Transylvania University at No. 22. The Pioneers handed Rose-Hulman its only conference loss so far this season in Hulbert Arena on January 12, and this Saturday, the Engineers will look to avenge that loss as they travel to Lexington, Kentucky to finish out the regular season series.Rolling on a five game winning streak, the guys continue to tap into the No. 1 defense in the nation, holding their past two opponents to fewer than 40 points as they swept Mount St. Joseph and Anderson University.Last Saturday, the Engineers matched the best 19-game start in school history with a 60-39 win over the Mount St. Joseph Lions at home. The Lions were held to just 28.6 percent shooting from the field and 43.5 percent from the free throw line, while the Engineers capitalized on 47.7 percent from the field.Senior Austin Weatherford led all scorers with 17 points, four assists, and a pair of blocks, and junior Julian Strickland followed closely behind with 14 points. Seniors Jon Gerken and Nate Gissentanner chipped in with eight points and seven points, respectively.Riding a wave of solid play to Anderson, Indiana, the Engineers toppled the Ravens in a 71-40 win to propel their record to 18-2 overall and 12-1 in HCAC matchups.Strickland put up 12 points in the effort, with senior Brenton Balsbaugh and junior Alec Houpt joining him in double figures with 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Balsbaugh nearly recorded a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds on the night, and Houpt's effort was a career-best.In both games this past week, the Engineers played at least 15 guys while still maintaining a considerable margin over their opponents. In the road win over Anderson on Wednesday, Gerken led the Engineers in minutes on the court with just 21, barely even an entire half worth of play.With the win over the Lions, the Engineers locked up an appearance in the HCAC Tournament and stand just a few wins from locking up a first-round bye in the postseason tournament.However, the focus remains on a regular season championship, which would be the school's first since 2001, as the Engineers travel south to Lexington, Kentucky to take on Transylvania. A win would put Rose-Hulman up two games over the Pioneers, while a loss would knot the two teams at 11-2 with the advantage going to Transylvania for sweeping the Engineers in their regular season matchups.Further down in the conference standings, Hanover lost their spot alongside the Pioneers in second place after suffering a 75-77 loss to Franklin on Wednesday. Rose-Hulman will look to sweep the Panthers when they travel to Hanover, Indiana on February 16 to wrap up the regular season.The matchup against Transylvania will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday and will be available to stream online. Next Wednesday, the men will return to Hulbert Arena for their final home game of the season and Senior Night when they face Franklin College.