MADISON, Wis. - Junior forward Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) etched his name in the RU men's basketball record book on Tuesday night when he became just the 24th player in program history to score 1,000 career points. Diemer's feat is especially impressive as it took him just 67 games to reach the historic milestone. His 1,000th point came just 3 minutes and 32 seconds into the game when he knocked down a jump shot, off an assist from his brother, Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.). However the game did not end well, as Rockford (8-10, 6-7 NACC) fell in the closing seconds, 68-67 to the Edgewood College Eagles (7-11, 7-6 NACC).
The Regents held an edge in nearly every statistical category in Tuesday's game. Rockford shot the ball extremely well once again, connecting on 49.1% (26-53) of its shot attempts, including going 64.3% (9-14) from three-point range. The Regents also did an outstanding job on the defensive side of the floor holding Edgewood to just 37.3% (22-59) shooting, including 30% (6-20) from beyond the arc. Finally, Rockford outrebounded the Eagles (39-34), and held slight edges in both points in the paint (24-22) and fast break points (4-0). However as it often does in close games, Tuesday's contest came down to free throw shooting, and unfortunately that was the one area where the Eagles held a large advantage over the Regents. Edgewood shot 78.8% (18-23) from the charity stripe, while the Regents shot only 31.6% (6-19).
The Regents never led in the first half, but were able to stay within striking distance. With Rockford trailing 15-14 at the 11:54 mark, Edgewood put together the first large run of the game, scoring 8 straight points to take a 23-14 lead. The Eagles would extend their lead to as many as 10 points with 4:21 remaining in the period. However Rockford was able to close the half strong, draining back-to-back-to-back threes to pull within 3 points at 30-27. Senior Ryan Fiorucci (Machesney Park, Ill.) started the barrage with his first three-pointer of the evening, followed by a pair of threes from freshman Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.).
The second half was truly a back-and-forth affair as it featured 6 ties and 10 lead changes. The first tie of the evening came just over 2 minutes in when Tony Diemer hit back-to-back jumpers to knot the game at 33-33. Rockford was finally able to break through and take its first lead of the day a few minutes later when Tony Diemer hit his first three of the game to put his team in front 41-40. A few minutes later, the Regents pushed their lead to game-high 4 points after Brandon Emerick drained his third three of the night. The game continued to go back-and-forth for the remainder of the evening with the Eagles clinging to a 66-64 lead with less than a minute remaining. Up stepped the Regents' Tony Diemer, who hit a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to put Rockford back in front 67-66 with only 48 seconds left. Unfortunately things did not go the Regents' way in the closing seconds. Rockford was on the wrong end of a couple of questionable calls and was unable to make its free throws, while the Eagles made theirs. Even with everything seemly going against them, the Regents still had one final chance to retake the lead but came up short and ultimately fell by a final score of 68-67.
Tony Diemer turned in yet another outstanding performance scoring in double-figures for the sixth time in the last seven games. Diemer poured in a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, while also tallying 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Kevin Diemer continued his stellar play with his team-leading fourth double-double of the season. He finished with 11 points, a game-high 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Brandon Emerick added 9 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) chipped in 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
The RU men's basketball team returns to court on Saturday, January 27 at home against Dominican University. Tip-off is set for 2:00 PM in the Seaver Center.