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Regents Hang Tough with First-Place Eagles

Andrew Squires
Andrew Squires

LISLE, Ill. - The Regents (9-11, 7-8 NACC) dropped a tough 80-70 game on Wednesday night on the road to the NACC leading Benedictine University Eagles (13-7, 12-3 NACC). Although the Eagles shot significantly better from the floor than the Regents (51.5% to 39.2%), Rockford was within striking distance for the vast majority of the evening. The Regents did an outstanding job on the offensive glass as well as taking care of the ball. Rockford turned the ball over a season-low 6 times and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, which led to the Regents taking 13 more shots than Benedictine (79 to 66). However, the Eagles efficient shooting was too much for the Regents to overcome, giving Benedictine its eleventh straight win over Rockford.

Benedictine led for much of the first half before Rockford slowly closed the gap in the closing moments. With the game tied at 4-4 just over three minutes in, the Eagles used a 9-2 run to take a quick seven-point lead. Fortunately the Regents responded with a 7-2 run of their own capped off by a three-pointer from sophomore Andrew Squires (Pecatonica, Ill.) to once again make it a one-possession game. However Benedictine would eventually build its lead to at the time a game-high nine points with 6:38 remaining in the first half. It was from that point forward that Rockford began to catch fire and would take its first lead of the day. The Regents scored eight of the next ten points capped off by a triple from Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) as Rockford pulled back within three at 28-25. The two schools would trade baskets over the next few minutes until Andrew Squires and Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) connected on back-to-back layups in the final minute to give the Regents a 36-35 advantage. Unfortunately the Eagles would score the final points of the period to take a slim 37-36 lead heading into the break. 

The second half got off to great start for the Regents as they steadily built their lead up to a game-high five points. With the score tied at 42-42, Rockford scored on three straight possessions to grab a 49-44 advantage. All seven of the points came from the Diemer brothers, with Tony Diemer scoring the first five and Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) the final two. Following a quick Benedictine timeout, the Eagles responded with ten straight points to once again regain the lead. Benedictine would push their advantage to as many as eight points before the Regents made one final push. Senior Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) and sophomore Andrew Squires hit on back-to-back triples to pull their team to within two with 9:44 remaining. Unfortunately it was at the point that the Eagles began to take control of the game. Benedictine used an 8-0 run to push its lead into double-digits for the first time in the game. The Eagles would lead by as many as 15 points before ultimately winning by a final score of 80-70.

Junior Tony Diemer again led the Regents in scoring with his eighth 20-point game of the season. Diemer poured in 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Guard Andrew Squires was outstanding off the bench for Rockford. Squires tallied a season-high 16 points on a blistering 7-of-10 shooting, while also adding 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Freshman Brandon Emerick was the third Regent to crack double-digits in scoring. Emerick finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Trae Blumhorst and Kevin Diemer both had nice all-around games. Blumhorst tallied 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 1 steal, while Diemer finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. 

The Regents will conclude their two-game road trip on Saturday, February 3 at rival Aurora University. Tip-off is set for 2:00 PM.