EUREKA, Ill. -- Behind a 40-point effort from sophomore guard Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.), the Eureka College men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit Sunday to overcome Monmouth for an 89-86 victory at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
Sunday's victory improved the Red Devils to 5-0 on the season, Eureka's best early-season record since beginning the 1986-87 season with 10 consecutive victories. Additionally, coupled with a four-game win streak to close last season, the Red Devils have won nine consecutive games for the first time since the 1993-94 team ended the season with nine straight wins en route to the NAIA Division II national title.
Feehan scored 37 of his 40 points after halftime. He went 8-for-13 from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes. His performance was the largest offensive outburst by a Red Devils since Jordan Kindred erupted for 40 in a 101-97 win at Greenville on Jan. 28, 2012.
Eureka used a critical five-point swing to force a 79-79 tie with 1:21 left. Monmouth's Will Jones committed an intentional foul after a Nate Bell (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame/Illinois Wesleyan) steal at halfcourt, leading to two free throws. Feehan was later fouled on a 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession. Feehan pushed in all three foul shots to tie the score at 79-79.
Two Justin Aluya free throws on MC's next trip gave the Fighting Scots an 81-79 edge, but Feehan answered with his ninth and final triple of the afternoon to push EC back in front 82-81 with 57 seconds remaining.
Eureka would lead for the remainder of the game. A basket from Kendall Davis (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Illinois Central) and more free throws from Feehan and Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) kept the Red Devils in front 89-86 before Aluya's 3-pointer from the top of the key was off the mark shortly before time expired.
Earlier in the second half, Monmouth led by as many as 12 when Aluya's layup gave the visitors a 42-30 lead. Eureka slowly chipped away at the deficit until Feehan forced a 66-66 deadlock on his triple with 5:54 remaining. Eureka didn't regain the lead until Feehan's 3-pointer for the 82-81 cushion, the Red Devils' first advantage since leading 10-9 early in the first half.
Feehan was one of four EC starters to score at least 12 points. Davis logged 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. Sophomores Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) and Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) each added 12 points.
Jones led the Scots with 25 points. Aluya tacked on 23 and Lamont Mitchell finished with 20.
Eureka now owns a 3-11 record versus Monmouth since 1974, but has won two of the last three meetings in Eureka since 2012. This season, the Red Devils own a pair of victories over Midwest Conference opponents (Knox, Monmouth) and two victories over Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference opponents (Dominican, Rockford).
The Red Devils will begin St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action Wednesday in an 8 p.m start at Blackburn in Carlinville, Ill.