ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team (9-10, 8-6 NACC) bounced back on Saturday with huge 74-71 win over the Illinois Tech Scarlet Hawks (11-8, 8-6 NACC). The win propels the Regents into a three-way tie for third place in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. However, if the season were to end today, Rockford would be the number three seed in the NACC Tournament. The difference in the game on Saturday, was Rockford's ability to get to and convert at the free throw line. The Regents went a stellar 25-for-30 (83.3%) at the free throw line, compared to just 11-for-15 (73.3%) for the Scarlet Hawks. Rockford also did an excellent job taking care of the ball. The Regents turned the ball over just nine times leading to only nine Illinois Tech points, compared to 14 Scarlet Hawk turnovers leading to 16 Regent points. Rockford also held an advantage in points in the paint (38-26) and fast-break points (14-3).
- Illinois Tech opened the game on a 16-9 run, tying its largest lead of the first half.
- Rockford responded with a 7-0 run of its own over the next three minutes and six seconds to tie the game at 16-16. A trio of Regents scored during that run, capped off by a three-point play from Kivontay Shaw (Galesburg, Ill.).
- Rockford was able to tie the game two more times over the next six minutes before Illinois Tech used a 6-0 run to take a 30-24 lead with 4:06 remaining in the first half.
- Fortunately, the Regents scored the next six points to tie the game at 30-30. Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) and Will Adams (Chicago, Ill.) each went 2-for-2 at the free throw line, and Jeremiah Stewart (Chicago, Ill.) converted on a layup.
- However, the Scarlet Hawks closed the half on a 9-2 run to take a 39-32 lead into the break.
- Illinois Tech continued to build upon its lead with a 7-0 run early in the second half to take a 46-32 advantage, its largest of the game.
- The Scarlet Hawks' lead hovered around ten points for much of the second half.
- However, with 7:25 remaining in the game and the Regents still trailing by nine, Rockford began to mount a comeback. The Regents went on a 12-3 run over the next two minutes and 43 seconds to tie the game at 65-65, with 4:42 left in regulation. Three different Regents scored during the run, capped off by back-to-back threes from Talon Hardin (Rantoul, Ill.) and Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.).
- Twenty-five seconds later, the Regents took their first lead of the game at 67-65 after a Tony Diemer made layup.
- Rockford would then salt the game away at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 over final 1:45 seconds of play.
- Illinois Tech had one final shot to tie the game as time expired, but the half-court heave came up empty, as the Regents earned an impressive 74-71 victory.
- Tony Diemer led Rockford with a team-high 17 points, 8 rebounds and 1 steal.
- Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 1 steal.
- Brandon Emerick added 12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
- Will Adams chipped in 8 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal off the bench.
- Taylor Krocker (Portage, Wis.) tallied 6 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
The RU men's basketball team returns to the court on Tuesday, January 29 at home against Marian University. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM in the Seaver Center.