ROCKFORD, Ill.- The Rockford University men's basketball team returned to action tonight to take on Aurora University in a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference matchup. The Regents needed to win their final two games of the season to have a shot at making the NACC tournament. Rockford upset the second place Aurora squad by the thrilling final of 89-85.
The first half began with the Spartans jumping out to an early 9-4 lead with just 15 minutes remaining. The Regents knotted the score at 12 after Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) knocked down a jump shot. After Aurora took a 23-16 lead with with just under nine minutes remaining, Rockford responded with a 12-2 run to take a 28-25 lead with five minutes remaining in the half. Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) and Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) led the run with four points each. Both teams traded baskets to end the first half as the Regents led 38-36 at halftime.Blumhorst was outstanding in the first half leading Rockford with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. The Regents shot 43.2% and the Spartans shot 38.9% from the floor in the half.
Rockford quickly took their largest lead of the game, 45-38, with just over 17 minutes remaining in the second half. Unfortunately, Aurora responded to take the lead 54-53 with just over 13 minutes remaining. After the Spartans took a four-point lead, 65-61, the Regents were able to knot the game back up at 67 on an Arthell Rosquist (Zion, Ill.) layup with just under seven minutes remaining. After Rockford was able to take the slight lead, 73-70, both teams traded baskets for the rest of the game. After Aurora took the lead with one minute remaining in the game Rosquist put Rockford ahead for good with a layup to make it 86-85. The Regents won by the final of 89-85. Aurora shot 45.8% and Rockford shot 44.0% from the floor. However, Rockford made 20 free throws which was four times the amount of Aurora's 5.
During the second half Zach Wallace eclipsed the 1,500 point mark. Wallace moved into seventh place on the all-time scoring list at Rockford University. With one game remaining in the regular season Wallace can improve upon his standing on the scoring list. Also, Wallace broke the single-season blocks record in the first half of the game. He has recorded 67 blocks on the season. For the game tonight, he posted 26 points, 18 in the second half, with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.
Also leading the Regents for the game were Tony Diemer adding 23 points with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Diemer also hit the final two free throws to seal the victory. Trae Blumhorst had a fantastic all-around game scoring 19 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Blumhorst shot 8-of-13 from the field and did not commit a turnover. Arthell Rosquist tallied 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench. Kivontay Shaw (Galesburg, Ill.) grabbed 9 rebounds off the bench.
The Rockford University men's basketball team returns to action for their season finale Saturday, February 18 to take on MSOE at the Seaver Center for senior day. The game is set to tip-off at 4:15 p.m.