ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team opened its season at home on Wednesday night with a 60-56 victory over the Beloit College Buccaneers (0-1). The game was tightly contested from the beginning, as there were 7 lead changes in the first half. Unfortunately it was the Regents who went into the half trailing 29-26. However, Rockford was able to stay within striking distance in the second half as Bucs were only able to push their lead to as many as 9 points on multiple occasions. The Regents were then able to dig deep with some hard-nosed defense and clawed their way their way back into the game before ultimately coming out on top with the victory. Rockford's 56 points allowed were the fewest points surrendered by the Regents in over three years.
The first half went back-and-forth in the early moments before the Bucs began to pull away midway through the opening period. The Regents were however able to fight back and tie the game at 22-22 with 6 minutes left led by senior Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) and junior Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) who both entered halftime with 5 points. Unfortunately Beloit closed the half on a 7-4 run to take a 29-26 lead into the break.
The second half had a similar ring to it as the first, with Beloit leading the majority of the way. It was not until there was just 3 minutes left in the game that RU would finally tie it up at 54. Junior transfer Will Adams (Chicago, Ill.) helped the Regents chip away at the Buc lead as he scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half. Rockford would then retake the lead with 2:31 remaining when Tony Diemer connected on layup off an assist from Trae Blumhorst to give his team a 56-55 advantage. From that moment forward, the Regents would not look back as they able to make enough free throws down the stretch including one with 5 seconds remaining to seal the win. One of the key factors to the second half turnaround was Rockford's ability to knock down open shots. The Regents connected on 40.9% of their shot attempts in the second half, while also holding Beloit to just 30.6% shooting from the floor.
Newcomer Will Adams led all scorers on Wednesday shooting 50% from the field and scoring a game-high 17 points. Tony Diemer recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Trae Blumhorst played an excellent all-around game scoring 13 points on 50% shooting, while also adding 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.
The Rockford University men's basketball team returns to action on Friday, November 17 as they travel to take on Carthage College at 8 PM.