MEQUON, Wis. - The Rockford University men's basketball team (11-13, 9-10 NACC) took to the road on Wednesday night as it faced off against the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons (13-11, 11-8). This would be a highly contested game from the beginning as both RU and CUW were fighting to earn a playoff spot. Rockford would find itself playing from behind as it trailed the Falcons the entire first half. The second half would intensify as it would feature 7 ties and 8 lead changes all within the last 14 minutes of the game. The game would come down to the wire just as many had anticipated. It would be a deep step-back two with 1.3 ticks on the clock that would put an end to Rockford's night as RU fell 89-88.
The beginning of the first half did not open up as Rockford had hoped as the Falcons came out soaring to take an early 8-0 lead. Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) would eventually break the run converting on a layup from Trae Blumhorst (Mendota, Ill.). CUW would find success early on form beyond the arc as it knocked down three three-pointers in the first four and half minutes of the game. Rockford would make sure to not get into a hole as RU was able to make it a two point game trailing the Falcons 18-16 with 11:39 to play in the first half. Unfortunately, it seemed as if Concordia Wisconsin could not miss from deep on the night as CUW had accumulated 6 made three's putting them in the driver seat with a score of 30-24 with 6:06 left in the half. The Regents would be resilient as RU would not let the Falcons build off their lead. Rockford would score with 37 seconds left to trail 46-38. However, as CUW had done all half it knocked down a three in the dying seconds giving them a staggering 9 made three-pointers in the first half. Concordia Wisconsin shot an impressive 9-of-16 from beyond the arc in the half. Rockford would go into the half trailing the Falcons 46-38. Tony Diemer would lead all scorers at the half with 17 points.
In the second half Rockford would come out hot scoring in the early minutes and making it a two point game at 50-48. The two teams would continue to battle back-and-forth until a big three from Ben Temrowski (Rochester, Mich.) would have Rockford trailing 59-58 with 14:18 remaining. Rockford would need a momentum swing in order to take a lead and RU got just that as Taylor Krocker (Portage, Wis.) came into the game knocking down a three with just under 9 minutes to play to knot the game at 70. Krocker would again show off his range as he hit once more from downtown giving the Regents a 77-74 lead with 7:07 left in regulation. Rockford would use that three-pointer to shift momentum and take an 81-76 lead with 5 minutes to go.
Concordia Wisconsin would not go down without a fight as it knocked down a three making the score Rockford 83 CUW 82 with 3:23 left. Despite struggling from beyond the arc in the second half Concordia Wisconsin would hit a late three to regain the lead at 805-83 with 2:04 to play in regulation. As time ticked down during the final minute to play Rockford needed a big play defensively as they trailed CUW; Blumhorst would come through as he stole the ball and finished at the rim to give the Regents an 88-87 lead with 25 seconds remaining. It would come down to one final play as CUW had to inbound the ball under the Regents basket with just 4.3 ticks on the clock. The Falcons got the ball into Jordan Johnson's hands who pulled up for a deep step-back two-pointer. Johnson was shrouded on the play as he hit an incredible shot leaving just 1.3 seconds left on the clock. Rockford would get off a last chance heave but it not be enough as Rockford lost in a heartbreaker 89-88.
Rockford had four players on the night score in the double-digits. Tony Diemer led the way with a game-high 25 points, 3 rebounds, a block and an assist. Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) tallied 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) chalked up 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Taylor Krocker had a big second half for the Regents in which he registered all 12 of his points shooting a perfect 4-for-4 including going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Krocker also had 5 of his 6 rebounds in the second half. Trae Blumhorst put together a nice game as he finished with a game-high 7 assists, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks.
Despite the heartbreaking loss to Concordia University Wisconsin the Regents playoff hopes are still alive. It all comes down to Saturday, February 17 as Rockford has to take care of business and get some help along the way. In order for RU to make the conference playoffs Rockford needs to beat Dominican University, have Aurora University win over Marian University, have Benedictine University down Edgewood College and have Concordia Chicago knock off Concordia Wissconsin.
The Rockford University men's basketball team looks to end its season on a high-note when it travels to Dominican University in search of a playoff berth. Tip-off is set for 2 PM.