ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team (10-12, 8-9 NACC) hosted the Lakeland University Muskies (14-8, 11-7 NACC) on Tuesday night. Rockford had dropped its previous two matches to Benedictine University and Aurora University; both teams who have clenched playoff berths already this year. The Regents needed to pull off an upset on Lakeland if it wanted to stay in the playoff hunt. Luckily, Rockford did just that as RU walked away with a 93-73 victory as it fended off LU at home in part to career-bests from Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) and Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.).
The first half got out to a bit of a slow start as both teams were playing exceptional defense. Freshman Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) played well for the Regents driving the ball to the hoop and converting from the line. Emerick would also make his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball as he would record a big block underneath the rim to foil an LU possession. Shortly after Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.) would find Emerick open for a three that would put the Regents up 17-10 with 13:43 left in the half. Rockford would continue its run as Blumhorst would find Ben Temrowski (Rochester, Mich.) this time as Temrowski would hit from beyond the arc to push the RU lead to 22-10 with 12 minutes to go. Rockford would did not let up as it saw its largest lead off the half come with 9:12 on the clock as RU led 29-16. From that point Lakeland started to battle back but could not gain any ground as Rockford would go into the half up 44-34. Brandon Emerick would end the half leading all scorers with 16 points. Junior Tony Diemer tallied 12 points and 6 rebounds. Kevin Diemer went into the half leading all players with 8 rebounds and 6 points. Rockford outshot the Muskies 48.6% compared to 34.9% from the floor in the first half. Part of that was due to the great perimeter defense that Rockford displayed as it forced LU to shoot 2-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first half of play.
Rockford picked up where it had left off as it went on a 12-4 run to open the second half. Tony Diemer accounted for nine of the twelve points; with his brother Kevin accounting for the other three. The two Diemer's continued to be destructive on both sides of the ball as Tony and Kevin helped paved the way to a 66-46 lead with 13:10 remaining in the game. Lakeland would give RU a scare as it strung together a 9-2 run to bring the score to 72-61 with 8:36 to play. However, Rockford would not lose its lead as it would cruise past the Muskies with a 93-73 victory. Tony Diemer put together a half to remember as he tallied 28 points and 7 rebounds. His brother, Kevin, played outstanding in the second as well recording 10 rebounds and 7 points.
There were three Regents on the night who scored double-digit points. The first was Tony Diemer who not only scored in the double-digits but did so while recording a double-double with a career-high 40 points. Tony Diemer shot 16-of-29 from the field, 8-for-9 from the free throw line and pulled down 13 boards. Brandon Emerick put together a nice game as he registered 20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, a steal and a block. Kevin Diemer followed his brother's trend recording a double-double with a career-high 18 rebounds, 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Trae Blumhorst enjoyed a nice game as he contributed most on the defensive side of the ball as he chalked up 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 points, 2 blocks, and a steal. Andrew Squires (Pecatonica, Ill.) continues to make the most of his minutes off the bench this season as he finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and an assist.
The Rockford University men's basketball season looks to continue its strong play as it hosts MSOE on Saturday, February 10 for senior day. Tip-off is set for 2 PM.