AURORA, Ill. - RU freshman Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) scored a career-high 27 points on Saturday in Rockford's 80-72 road loss to the Aurora University Spartans (14-8, 13-4 NACC). After falling behind by as many as 24 points early in the first half, Rockford (9-12, 7-9 NACC) battled all the back to within a single point on multiple occasions in the second half. Unfortunately each time the Regents made a run, the Spartans answered right back. Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was Aurora's ability to convert its offensive rebounds into points. The Spartans grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and turned them into 17 second chance points, compared to 7 offensive rebounds and just 3 second chance points for the Regents.
It was all Aurora in the early going as the Spartans began the game with a 22-2 run. Aurora would extend its lead to as many as 24 points with 11:24 remaining in the first half before the Regents started to make a run of their own. Rockford scored the next 10 points to pull back with 14 and put some pressure on the Spartans. Kevin Diemer and Andrew Squires (Pecatonica, Ill.) jump-started the RU offense with four and three points respectively as the Regents slowly began to turn the tide. Rockford continued to chip away at the Spartan lead for the remainder of the half getting as close as eight points after a Taylor Krocker (Portage, Wis.) made three. The Spartans would tack on a free throw in the final 30 seconds to take a 46-37 advantage into the break.
The Regents carried their momentum over into the second half as they came out of the intermission on fire from the floor. Freshman Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) opened with back-to-back triples to cut the Spartan lead to just 3 points, less than a minute into the second half. Junior Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) followed with four points of his own to make it a one-point Aurora advantage. Unfortunately Aurora answered with a 12-3 run over the next 3 minutes to push its lead back to double-digits at 60-50. With Aurora still leading by 9 points with 9:37 remaining in the game, Rockford scored eight straight points to pull back within one. It was the sharpshooting of sophomore Andrew Squires who connected on back-to-back threes to make it a one-point game at 70-69. However that was as close as the Regents would get, as Aurora scored 10 of the game's final 13 points en route to an 80-72 victory.
The story of the day for the Regents was the sensational play of freshman Kevin Diemer. Diemer tallied his team-leading sixth double-double of the season with 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. He has now scored in double-figures in seven of the last eight games including posting five double-doubles during that span.
The trio of Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.), Andrew Squires and Taylor Krocker also all played well. Blumhorst finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 block and tied his career-high with 8 assists. Andrew Squires tallied 9 points off 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Krocker had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block off the bench.
The RU men's basketball team returns home on Tuesday, February 6 to face Lakeland University. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM at the Seaver Center.