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Men's Hoops Falls in Final Seconds

Brandon Emerick
Brandon Emerick

ROCKFORD, Ill. - It was a wild and crazy game on Saturday afternoon in the Seaver Center between the Rockford University Regents (5-6, 3-3 NACC) and the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons (5-5, 4-3 NACC). The game was extremely tight throughout as it featured 17 lead changes and 10 ties with neither team ever leading by more than six points. Both Rockford and Concordia Wisconsin shot the ball extremely well. The Regents made 35 field goals on 47.9% shooting, while the Falcons made 36 field goals on 56.3% shooting. Ultimately the difference in the game came down to Concordia Wisconsin's depth and ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc. The CUW bench outscored the RU bench 36-8, and Falcons hit 11 3-pointers compared to 7 for Rockford, as the Regents fell by a final score of 91-88.

The game got off to a fast start as both teams found their shooting stroke in the opening moments. The Falcons came out of the gates on fire, making seven of their first nine shots, including connecting on four of their first six three-pointers to take an early 18-12 lead. However, the Regents were also clicking on all cylinders in the opening moments, as they drained 10 of their first 15 shots to tie the game at 22-22. Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) was especially hot during that stretch, scoring 8 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Rockford would eventually retake the lead with 8:31 remaining when Diemer completed the old-fashioned three-point play to put his team out in front 35-34. The lead would change hands six more times in the first half until Rockford took its first two-possession lead of the day at 47-42 off a Tony Diemer made layup with 1:40 remaining. However the Falcons closed the half strong, hitting back-to-back threes and cutting Rockford's lead to just a single point heading into the half at 49-48.

The second half was equally as exciting as the first, as both teams continued to knock down shots. Rockford opened the second half hitting its first three shots, capped off by a made layup from Tony Diemer to put the Regents out in front 56-50. Unfortunately CUW's Jake Jurss was unconscious from the floor in the opening three and a half minutes, as the Falcons retook the lead at 59-56. Jurss scored Concordia's first 11 points going a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor including going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. The game then went back-and-forth over the next handful of minutes as both teams led on multiple occasions. With just under nine minutes remaining, the Regents were once again able build their lead back up to a game-high six points at 72-66, following a pair of threes from Tony Diemer and Will Adams (Chicago, Ill.). Rockford continued to hold a slight advantage until the 3:12 mark when the Falcons used a quick 4-0 run to retake the lead at 83-81. However less than 15 seconds later, senior Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) converted on a three-point play as Rockford jumped back in front 84-83. Rockford's lead did not last long, as CUW promptly retook the lead at 85-84 with less than three minutes remaining. The game remained close over the final few minutes with CUW clinging to a 3-point advantage with 11 seconds remaining. Rockford had one final chance to tie the game, but Ryan Fiorucci's (Machesney Park, Ill.) three-pointer hit off the rim as time expired, giving the Falcons a 91-88 win. 

All five starters scored in double-figures on Saturday for the Regents. Tony Diemer led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including going a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range. Diemer has now scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games. He rounded out his stat line with team-highs in both rebounds (6) and assists (5). Will Adams appeared to get back on track, scoring 19 points off 7-of-15 shooting. He also added a team-high 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Senior Trae Blumhorst continues to be extremely efficient with the basketball. Blumhorst tallied 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while adding 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Taylor Krocker hit double-digits in scoring for the sixth time this season with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Freshman Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) had perhaps his best game of the season. Emerick finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 rebound. 

The RU men's basketball team returns to the court on Monday, December 18 for an exhibition game at UW-Green Bay. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.