FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Rockford's fierce second half comeback fell just short on Saturday as the Regents dropped a tough road contest 86-82 to the Marian University Sabres. The Regents trailed by as many as 13 points with only 7 minutes remaining. However, Rockford continued to battle and ultimately was able to give itself multiple chances to tie or take the lead with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately the ball did not bounce the Regents' way allowing Marian to pick up the victory and split the season series. Despite the loss, Rockford is still just one game out of the sixth and final spot in the NACC Tournament. However in order to clinch the sixth seed, Rockford will need to win both of its games next week, have Dominican lose both of its remaining games and have Lakeland lose one of its remaining three games.
Rockford shot the ball extremely well in the first half connecting on 50% (18-of-36) of its attempts; however in spite of that hot shooting, the Regents led for less than a minute the entire half. Things did not look good midway through the half when the Sabres used an 18-6 run to take a 28-17 advantage, their largest of the half. Fortunately Rockford slowly chipped away at the deficit as the Regents trailed by just three points entering halftime. Senior Zach Wallace (Rockford, Ill.) was absolutely dominate in the opening 20 minutes as he scored more points than the entire rest of his team combined. Wallace knocked down 11-of-16 shot attempts giving him 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Regents again played well in the opening moments of the second half as Rockford briefly took the lead once and tied the game on three other occasions. It was again Zach Wallace who led the charge during that period scoring 8 straight points for Rockford. However with the game tied at 57-57, the Sabres scored 8 consecutive points of their own to retake control of the game. Marian would eventually extend its lead to a game-high 13 points a few minutes later when it used another 8-0 run to seemingly put the game away. Fortunately the Regents still had a lot of fight left in them as they promptly went on an 11-2 run of their own to get back within four points at 78-74. The duo of Arthell Rosquist (Zion, Ill.) and Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) led the charge scoring four and three points respectively. Rockford then pulled back to within two points following a pair of Ben Weber (South Beloit, Ill.) free throws with 1:31 remaining. However, the Regents could not get any closer as they were held scoreless for the remainder of the game and fell 86-82.
Zach Wallace continues to show why he is one of the best players in the conference this year. The senior recorded his fourteenth double-double of the season as he tied his career-high with 36 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks and 1 assist. Wallace is now approaching three more milestones as he is just 12 points shy of 1,500, 22 rebounds from 800 and two blocks away from breaking the RU single-season blocks record. With just two games remaining Wallace still leads the NACC in scoring, rebounding and blocks. He is looking to become the first men's basketball player to ever lead the NACC in all three categories and just the second to finish as the conference's leading scorer and rebounder.
Arthell Rosquist, Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) and Ben Weber were the other three Regents to crack double-figures. Rosquist finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Diemer notched his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Weber added 10 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound.
The RU men's basketball team returns home on Tuesday, February 14 to host Aurora University. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM in the Seaver Center