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First half woes too much for Eagles to overcome

Wednesday, January 14, 2009  
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Edgewood College Athletic Website
Posted January 14, 2009 @ 10:05 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. - The Eagles nearly overcame a 17-point second half deficit, but when it was all said and done, Rockford College’s incredible turnaround season continued as they held on for a 78-76 Northern Athletics Conference win at the Todd Wehr Edgedome in Madison, Wis. on Wednesday night.
John Schuster scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and was a key contributor in the Eagles’ big second half run to get back in the game, but it was to no avail. The sophomore guard finished the game 6-of-9 from the field while sinking his only three-point attempt and going 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
Edgewood College’s sluggish first half didn’t slow down Rockford’s Rennell Taylor who had the hot hand early and throughout the game. Taylor went 7-of-10 from the field in the first half to lead all scorers at the break with 15 points. The senior guard led the Regents to their first conference road victory after finishing 11-of-20 from the field for a game-high 24 points.
Rockford (7-7, 2-4 NAC) has reached the .500-mark on the season just a year removed from going 1-24 overall. The Regents shot 50 percent (17-of-34) in the opening period and converted 11 Eagle turnovers into 18 points to take a commanding 43-28 lead into the locker room. Edgewood College managed to go just 12-for-28 (42.9 percent) in the first half and failed to hit a first-half three-pointer for the first time this season.
Rockford scored the first basket in the second period to take a 17-point lead, its largest of the game and it would stay that way until midway through the second half when Schuster finally ended the three-pointer drought at the 10:20 mark and in the midst of an 11-0 Edgewood College (6-8, 4-2 NAC) run to cut the Regent lead to 59-54. The Eagles went 3-of-17 from beyond the arc in the game with two of those coming within a 2-minute span.
After the Eagles cut the deficit to five points with less than nine minutes remaining, the Regents answered. Rockford scored eight of the game’s next 11 points to push the lead back to 10 and kept a double-digit advantage as late as 4:50 remaining. However, the Eagles wouldn’t go away quietly.
The Eagles crawled their way back committing just four second half turnovers and shot 53.1 percent (17-of-32) in the second half to make it a one-point game with just 11 seconds left following Schuster’s three-point play.
The Eagles were left with having to go the length of the floor in the final 9.1 seconds and a 78-76 deficit to win it. Schuster received the inbound, brought the ball across half court, and passed it in the corner to Ben Wisniewski for a possible three-point try. The pass was deflected down to the left block for Jon Ciche, but time expired before the senior could get a shot off. Edgewood College suffered its first loss at home during NAC play this season and will now embark on a three-game conference road trip.
Kent Faurote turned in the game’s lone double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Wisniewski tallied 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting while Ciche had four points and nine rebounds to go with a blocked shot in the loss.
Taylor and fellow Rockford teammate, Danny Armelin, combined for 43 of the team’s 78 points. Armelin scored 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting in the win. The Regents entered the game with the league’s highest turnover margin, committing 5.62 fewer turnovers than their opponents. They forced 15 Eagle mishaps while committing 11 of their own and it helped them to a big first half lead and the eventual victory.

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