AURORA, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team lost a hard fought battle, 96-80, on Tuesday night to the Aurora University Spartans. Despite not leading for the final 15 minutes and 33 seconds of the game, Rockford was able to stay within striking distance nearly the entire time. However each time the Regents got close, Aurora had the answer. The Spartans connected on 12 three-pointers, many of which came when Rockford was threatening to retake lead. Aurora then took advantage of a few Rockford miscues in the final 3 minutes to secure the victory.
Rockford opened the game strong as the Regents led for much of the first five minutes. Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) drained the first shot attempt of the game and Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) connected his first two shots to put Rockford in front 8-5. The Regents would hold onto that lead until the 15:33 mark when Aurora used a 4-0 run to move back in front. The Spartans then extended their lead to as many as 8 points in the first half; however, Rockford closed the opening 20 minutes strong, scoring the final four points to enter the break trailing by just three, at 42-39.
The second half was also very competitive as the Regents and Spartans went back and forth for much of the final twenty minutes. Each time Aurora seemed like it was going to pull away, Rockford responded. The Regents cut the Spartan lead down to a single point on three different occasions but were never quite able to get over the hump as Aurora answered right back each time to retake control. Unfortunately momentum began to swing in Aurora's favor with 3:21 remaining when the Spartans shot six free throws over 16 second span as the Regents were whistled for two personal fouls and a technical foul. Aurora made five of the six free throws to extend its lead to at the time a game-high 11 points. The Regents were never able to get back within striking distance for the remainder of the game as Rockford fell by a final score of 96-80.
RU senior forward Zach Wallace was absolutely dominant on Tuesday. Wallace posted his eighth double-double of the season and his fourth in the last five games. The senior led the Regents with 24 points on 12-of-14 shooting, while also grabbing 14 rebounds, blocking 2 shots and dishing out 2 assists.
Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) Tony Diemer and Arthell Rosquist (Zion, Ill.) all hit double-figures in scoring as well. Blumhorst had another great all-around game with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Diemer added 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Rosquist chipped in 12 points and 3 rebounds.
The RU men's basketball team returns home on Saturday, January 14 against Lakeland University. Tip-off is set for 4:15 PM in the Seaver Center.