RIVER FOREST, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team fell 86-85 on Tuesday night to Dominican University after the Stars erased an 18-point second half Regent lead. Rockford had held Dominican in check for the entire first half as the Stars entered the break with just 28 points. However, Dominican caught fire in the second half scoring 58 points, 43 of which came in the final 11 minutes and 3 seconds. The Stars shot 78.9% from the field (15-of-19) during that period to close out the game and defeat the Regents.
The game got off to a great start as Rockford trailed for a total of just 12 seconds in the first half. The Regents held a slim lead for much of opening portion of the half before using a couple of late runs in the closing moments to put some distance between themselves and the Stars. With Rockford clinging to a 1-point lead at the 6:32 mark, the Regents used an 8-1 spurt to take their largest lead to that point. The duo of Ben Weber (South Beloit, Ill.) and Ben Temrowski (Rochester, Mich.) jump-started the run with back-to-back threes before a Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) layup gave Rockford a 29-21 lead. However, the Stars would respond right back and cut the deficit to just three points with a little under two minutes remaining. Fortunately, Rockford answered with a 7-0 run to close the half, led by 5 points from Ryan Fiorucci (Machesney Park, Ill.) to take a 38-28 lead into the break.
The Regents came out strong in early portion of the second half as well. In the opening moments of the half Rockford used an 8-0 run led by 4 points from Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) to jump in front 48-32. The lead would hover around sixteen points for the next six minutes until a pair of Zach Wallace free throws put Rockford up 18 points with 11:28 remaining. Unfortunately things quickly began to unravel as the Stars immediately went on 27-4 run over the next 6 minutes and 28 seconds to take a 70-65 lead with 5 minutes remaining. Rockford continued to fight and did eventually tie the game at 76-76 with 2:24 remaining; however, each time the Regents seemed primed to retake the lead, Dominican responded. Trailing by three with 11 seconds remaining, Rockford's final shot to tie the game and force overtime was off the mark forcing the Regents to grab and lay in the offensive rebound to pull within one with one second remaining. Unfortunately Rockford never got the ball back and fell by a final score of 86-85.
Rockford had four players score in double-digits on Tuesday. Sophomore Tony Diemer led the way pouring in a team-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while also grabbing 6 rebounds. Senior Zach Wallace tallied his thirteenth double-double of the season with 17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists. Freshman Ben Weber had an excellent all-around performance with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Senior Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) was the final Regent to crack double-figures with 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block.
The RU men's basketball team returns home on Saturday, February 4 to face the Edgewood College Eagles. Tip-off is set for 4:15 PM in the Seaver Center.