EUREKA, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team dropped its second straight game to open the 2016-17 season, 92-78 at Eureka College. Two of the deciding factors in Saturday's loss were made three-pointers and made free throws. The Regents connected on just 3-of-19 shots from beyond the arc, while the Red Devils drained 10-of-27 three-point attempts. The Red Devils were also +11 at the free throw line making 20-of-22 attempts compared to just 9-of-14 for the Regents.
The game got off to a great start for the Regents as they came roaring out of the gates. Rockford opened the game on an 18-7 run to take a commanding lead with 12:28 left in the first half. The trio of Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.), Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) and Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) combined to score 16 of the 18 points with Diemer leading the way with 6. However, the game quickly took a turn for the worse as the Red Devils promptly went on a 16-2 run to take the lead with just over 9 minutes remaining before halftime. The score remained close over the next seven minutes as the two teams traded baskets; however, Rockford was never able to regain the lead. In the final two minutes of the half it was Eureka that used an 8-2 run to grab a 47-39 lead heading into the intermission.
The second half did not go well for Rockford as the Regents were forced to try and play catch-up the entire time. After the Red Devils extended their lead to at the time a game-high 15 points, Rockford began to slowly claw its way back into the game. Over the next few minutes Tony Diemer helped lead the Regents on an 8-0 run as Rockford pulled back to within 7 at 70-63. Rockford would cut the lead to as few as 6 points with 4:29 remaining, but unfortunately could not get any closer as Eureka responded with a 15-4 run en route to a 92-78 win.
Senior Zach Wallace had one of the best games of his career on Saturday. Wallace poured in a team-high 32 points on an impressive 14-of-20 shooting and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. He also added 2 blocks and 2 assists to round out his stat line.
Sophomore Tony Diemer and freshman Kivontay Shaw (Galesburg, Ill.) were the other two Regents to crack double-figures. Diemer scored 16 points with 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Shaw was the leading scorer off the bench with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
Junior Trae Blumhorst also played well despite some foul trouble. Blumhorst tallied 7 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.
The RU men's basketball team returns home on Tuesday, November 22 to face Carroll University. Tip-off is set for 7:15 PM in the Seaver Center.