MILWAUKEE, Wis. - It was a tale of two halves on Saturday, as the Rockford University men's basketball team (5-4, 3-2 NACC) dropped its second straight game, 64-60 to the MSOE Raiders (5-2, 5-1 NACC). The Regents got off to an extremely sluggish start scoring just 18 points and shooting 25.0% from the floor as Rockford entered the half trailing 33-18. Fortunately the Regents found their groove in the second half, draining 41.2% of their shots and making more free throws (12) than MSOE attempted (10). Although the Regents shot significantly better at the free throw line than MSOE, 84.2% compared to 35.7%, it was ultimately the Raiders ability to knock down shots that decided the game. MSOE connected on 43.3% of its shots including 35.0% from three-point range compared to 33.9% shooting for Rockford including shooting just 11.1% from beyond the arc.
The game went back and forth over the opening five minutes of the first half before MSOE took control. Juniors Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) and Taylor Krocker (Portage, Wis.) each scored 4 points in the early moments as Rockford trailed 10-8 with 15:16 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately the Regents went cold from the floor scoring just two points a pair of made free throws over the next 9 minutes, which allowed the Raiders to go on a 12-2 run and take a 22-10 lead. MSOE would extend its advantage to as many as 15 points as the Raiders entered the break leading 33-18.
The MSOE lead would hover around 15 points for the majority of the second half, before the Regents made one final push over the final seven minutes and seven seconds. With Rockford still trailing by 15, the Regents used a 13-3 run over a six and a half minute span to pull back within five points at 59-54. Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) and Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) led the charge scoring four points each to help the Regents get back within single digits for the first time since the 11:25 mark in the first half. Rockford was able to get as close as four points on two separate occasions with less than a minute remaining, but it was not enough as the Raiders made just enough free throws in the closing moments to hold on for the 64-60 victory.
Rockford got 97% of its total points from five players on Saturday. Junior Tony Diemer led the way with a team-high 23 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist. Diemer has been on fire as of late, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last two games. Senior Trae Blumhorst tuned in yet another solid all-around effort for the Regents. Blumhorst tallied 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting and had team-highs in rebounds (8), assists (4) and blocks (3). Kevin Diemer had another nice game coming off the bench with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) also played well off the bench with 7 points, 2 steals and 1 rebound. Taylor Krocker added 6 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist.
The RU men's basketball team returns to the court on Wednesday, December 13 at Augustana College. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.