ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team (11-12, 9-9 NACC) celebrated its senior day on Saturday when it faced off against the MSOE Raiders (14-9, 13-6 NACC). RU honored its six seniors before the game; Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.), Ryan Fiorucci (Machesney Park, Ill.), Ajibola Oke-Diran (Chicago, Ill.), Nicolas Ramos (Litchfield Pak, Ariz.), Jacob Siewert (Streamwood, Ill.) and Ben Temrowski (Rochester, Mich.). Rockford looked to avenge its four-point loss against the Raiders earlier in the season and made sure it fulfilled its mission. The Regents were able to come away with an 85-77 victory to keep its playoff hopes alive.
It would not take long for Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) to get going in the first half against the Raiders. Trae Blumhorst would find Tony Diemer in the paint for a step-back jumper to bring the score within two. Two possessions later Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) would find Tony Diemer who knocked down a corner three to give the Regents a 7-6 lead with 15:16 remaining in the half. However, following an Emerick made three that would make the score 10-8, the Raiders would put together an 11-2 run to take a 19-12 lead with 11:40 left to play. As the game progressed Andrew Squires (Pecatonica, Ill.) would find Ryan Fiorucci open for three making it a two point game at 21-19 with 8:25 to go in the half. As the half ensued Tony Diemer would steal the ball and dribble on a fast-break down the court finding Blumhorst as the two executed a perfect alley-oop dunk. Blumhorst was fouled on the play and converted on the and-one. RU would still be trailing however 30-27 with 3:55 to play in the half. With just over a minute to play Blumhorst would again find himself at the line as he converted on both. Just after the made free-throw Emerick would steal the inbound pass and find Blumhorst as the Regents would tie the game at 34-34 with 1:21 left in the half. Emerick would be at it again as he stole the ball on the next Raider possession and heaved the ball down the court finding Tony Diemer for the lay-up. MSOE would score once more before the half as the score would be knotted up 36-36 at halftime.
Both teams shot similar in the first half as Rockford shot 43.8% from the floor compared to 48.4% for MSOE. However, MSOE was able to have more success from beyond the arc shooting 42.9% to Rockford's 27.3%. Tony Diemer would go into the half leading the Regents with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Trae Blumhorst put together a nice half with 9 points and distrusting the ball 5 different times, to go along with his emphatic dunk.
Rockford and MSOE would both come out in the second half exchanging buckets. That would change as the Regents would go on a 8-2 run with six of those coming from Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.); making the score 51-44 with 12:33 left in the game. Kevin Diemer would continue his impressive second half play as he would make a lay-up then on the next Raider possession force a turnover and end the play with a big time three-pointer to extend the RU lead to 58-51 with just under 10 minutes to play. Neither team would budge as the game went on as the score would remain in the Regents favor at 64-57 with 6:23 left in the game. Kevin Diemer would not be stopped in the second half as Tony Diemer would find him beyond the arc as RU extended its lead to 69-59 with 5:16 to play. The Diemer brother's would play follow the leader as Tony Diemer would come down and hit a mid-range jumper to make the score 73-61 with 3:30 remaining in the contest. The Raiders would not go down without a fight as MSOE would knock down a three-pointer to make it 79-70 with a minute to play. Rockford would put the icing on the cake as Blumhorst would throw down another dunk. The Regents would come out victorious on senior day and remain in the playoff race with a final score of 85-74.
Rockford shot an outstanding 66.7% from the floor in the second half while holding MSOE to just 39.4%. Kevin Diemer exploded in the second half shooting 100% as he accounted for 21 of the Regents points. Trae Blumhorst kept dishing out assists as he dealt out 6 alone in the half. Tony Diemer would chalk up 12 second half points while Brandon Emerick would have 10.
There would be four Rockford players to score in double-figures on Saturday afternoon. Kevin Diemer would have an incredible game as he led all scorers with 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting, including going a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Kevin Diemer would also finish with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Tony Diemer would not be too far off from his brother as he was the second leading scorer on the day with 24 points shooting an impressive 11-of-18 from the field. Tony finished the game adding 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists. Trae Blumhorst would record a double-double with 13 points, 11 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 highlight reel dunks and a steal. Brandon Emerick would come away from the day with 13 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
The Rockford University men's basketball team returns to action when RU hits the road on Wednesday, February 14 in a pivotal game with playoff implications against Concordia Wisconsin. Tip-off is set for 7 PM.