ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team (5-8, 3-5 NACC) hosted the Aurora University Spartans (7-7, 6-3 NACC) on Saturday afternoon. It would be a tale of two halves as Rockford would go into the half up 40-33. However, Aurora would catch fire in the second half and win the game 89-80. Both teams shot similar as Aurora outshot Rockford from the floor on the day 48.4% to 42.0%. A big factor was the Spartans ability to score points off the bench. The AU bench scored 28 points compared to Rockford's 8.
The first half started out fast-paced as Rockford jumped out to an early 17-6 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. The strong start was strung together in part from freshman Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) and junior Tony Diemer (Rockford Ill.). However, the Spartans would find some rhythm of its own and bring the game to 25-21 with just under 11 minutes in the half. The rest of the half would continue to be a back-and-forth battle as the teams continued to exchange buckets. Rockford however would never relinquish its lead as RU would go into the half up 40-33. Rockford would shoot 52.9% from the floor compared to Aurora's 33.3%. A large part of the Regents success came off Tony Diemer going 6-for-7 from the floor registering 12 points.
The second half would not start how the Regents had hoped. The Spartans would be the one to come out of the gate hot as they would go on a 10-0 run to take the lead at 43-40. A pair of big three's from sophomore Ben Weber (South Beloit, Ill.) and Tony Diemer would regain the lead for Rockford 46-45 with 16:47 to play. After continuing to exchange buckets the Regents would see its lead slip as Aurora would go on an 11-3 run to take the lead at 61-54 with just over 10 minutes to play. The Spartans would continue to play well as it would lead Rockford 77-66 with just 2 minutes remaining. The Regents would attempt to claw its way back during the dying seconds of the game, but it would not be enough. The Spartans would hang on to win the game by a score of 89-80. AU would shoot tremendously well in the second half going 5-for-10 from beyond the arc and 69.2% from the floor. Rockford would shoot just 31.4% from the floor in the second.
Rockford would have three Regents score in double-figures on the afternoon. Freshman Brandon Emerick would lead RU dropping a career-high 22 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Tony Diemer would end the day with 17 points shooting 8-of 13 from the floor. Diemer would also tally 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 rebounds. Senior Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) would record 16 points while going 8-for-9 from the line. Blumhorst also chalked up 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a block.
The Rockford University men's basketball team returns to action when it travels to Lakeland on Tuesday, January 9. Tip-off is set for 5 PM.