ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Illinois Tech men's basketball team played a tough contest on Saturday evening, dropping a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) game at Rockford University. Tech (11-8, 8-6 NACC) led by as many as 13, but the Regents (9-10, 8-6 NACC) made a second-half surge to steal the victory 74-71.
How it Happened
- Both teams scored three of first four possessions as the teams were fairly even early. Otis Reale help Tech take the first big advantage, scoring five straight points as the Scarlet Hawks took a 16-9 advantage.
- After a Jeremiah Stewart dunk on the fastbreak, the Regents were ignited on a 7-0 run to tie the contest at 16-16.
- Rockford tied the contest several times in the first half, but the Scarlet Hawks would not allow the Regents to get that decisive go-ahead basket. A distinct rebounding advantage was a big reason why, as the Scarlet Hawks outdid the hosts 25-17 on the glass over the first 20 minutes.
- With the scored tied at 30-30, Reale once again came through when the Hawks needed a spark. The freshman scored nine straight points to close out the half for the Scarlet Hawks, four from the foul line, as Tech took a 39-32 lead into the break.
- Reale's run continued into the second half, scoring the first basket of the half to increase his personal run to 11. He then assisted Max Hisatake on the next possession, helping to propel the Scarlet Hawks to a 13-point advantage at 48-35.
- Rockford began to hit some shots as the second half progressed, but Milos Dugalic provided some immediate energy off the bench for the Scarlet Hawks with sound offense and a steal. His play was timely, climbing the lead back to 13 (56-43) after the Regents cut the lead back to single-digits.
- The Regents would not let up, cutting it back to single-digits once again and getting as close as two (64-62) with just over five minutes behind the pressure of a press defense.
- With 4:32 left, Rockford tied the score for the first time since the first half (65-65) on a Tony Diemer three-pointer. On RU's next possession, Diemer scored down low to give the Regents a lead for the first time in the contest.
- Jake Bruns nailed a corner three with 3:00 left to re-take lead, but Tech was unable to capitalize on the next possession after three offensive rebounds. An ensuing foul, Hisatake's fifth of the night, put RU at the line and gave the hosts the lead back the lead with 1:50 to play.
- Tech was able to get a couple of stops, but could not execute on the offensive end as Rockford's lead extended to 71-68 with 26 seconds to play.
- Parker Joncus was able to corral an offensive rebound with 12 seconds to play, prompting one more chance for the Scarlet Hawks to tie the score. However, Rockford was able to force a turnover on the inbounds play, with Diemer hitting two free throws to give the Regents a five-point advantage.
- Joncus, however, was not done, hitting a three-pointer with 4.7 ticks left on the clock to bring Tech to back to within two at 73-71. Rockford made one of two free throws at the end, and a desperation heave from Bruns fell short as the buzzer sounded.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts
- Reale led the Scarlet Hawks with 22 points. He also had four assists.
- Digiorgio had 12 points and 19 rebounds.
- Dugalic scored nine points, had three rebounds, and recorded three assists off the bench.
Stats to Know
- Rebounding was in favor of Tech both overall (45-39) and offensive (14-11)
- Rockford forced the Scarlet Hawks into 14 turnovers, while the Regents committed just nine.
- Tech will host the Warriors or Wisconsin Lutheran on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. in another NACC contest. Live audio, video, and stats will be available. The live audio will be powered by Illinois Media School.