MILWAUKEE – Junior Matthew Kirmse scored 24 points and freshman Michael Pitrof posted a double-double to lead the MSOE men's basketball team to an 88-76 victory over Rockford Wednesday night at Hotchkin Arena.
The Raiders (16-2, 11-2 NACC) trailed the Regents (8-10, 7-6 NACC) by five points with about 12 minutes remaining in regulation before a decisive 12-0 run thrust them ahead for good.
Kirmse shot 8-of-13 from the field, hitting on three 3-pointers and all five free throws for game-high scoring honors. Meanwhile, Pitrof scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. In the game. Sophomore Sammy Linn rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10.
Senior Jason Palsesse and freshman Ty Miklowski also had solid nights. Palesse posted eight points and eight assists while Miklowski registered seven points and six rebounds in just 11 minutes.
Brandon Emerick hit six 3-pointers on his way to 23 points for Rockford. Tony Diemer added 17 points while surpassing 1,500 career points in the game.
A tie game at halftime, the score remained tight into the second half. The Regents were able to get a foothold and opened a 61-56 lead at the 12:04 mark of the half. Pitrof then sparked a 12-0 run with eight points and a pair of dunks as MSOE opened a 68-61 lead.
The teams traded four-point runs before back-to-back three-pointers pulled Rockford within 72-71. Kirmse answered with a three-pointer at the 2:53 mark to relieve the pressure. Palesse followed with a steal that led to a Kirmse layup and Miklowski hit another bucket to push the lead back up to eight points.
The Red & White then iced the game with 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute-plus.
MSOE had threatened to pull away in the first half, engineering a 14-5 run to open an 11-point lead at 31-20. Minutes later, the Regents put together a 14-4 run of their own to tie the game at 39-39 at halftime.
The Raiders shot over 61 percent from the field in the second half to finish at 52.3 percent for the game. That figured included a 6-for-17 clip from three-point range. The hosts also handled business at the free throw line, making 14-of-18. Rockford shot 38.5 percent for the game but remained in the game thanks to 12-of-26 shooting from three-point distance.
MSOE returns to the court Saturday at Edgewood.