EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College men's basketball team will play eight of its final 11 regular-season games at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena, starting with a 7 p.m. tip-off against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Blackburn, Saturday night. Eureka College will recognize head coach Chip Wilde for his 10 years of service to the College prior to tip-off.
Eureka will try to put an end to a brief two-game skid on Saturday, owning a 9-5 overall mark and an even 4-4 SLIAC record. Eureka is unbeaten at home in five outings this season and has won seven in a row at home dating back to Feb. 10, 2016. The Red Devils are 14-2 on their home floor since the renovation of Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The Red Devils score 92.7 points per game, eighth-most in the country. The offense is paced by the backcourt trio of Shea Feehan, Kendall Davis and Hank Thomas. The group combines to score 67 points per game.
Eureka also does a lot of damage from the foul line, making its free throws at a 77 percent clip to lead the league and rank 23rd nationally.
League coaches picked Eureka to finish eighth during a poll conducted before the start of the season.
The Red Devils return two full-time starters and 10 letterwinners overall from last season's team that went 12-13 overall and 10-8 in the SLIAC to tie for third place in the final league standings. Sixteen newcomers have joined the program, including nine first-year freshmen, to give EC a roster size of 26 student-athletes.
IOWA WESLEYAN TOPPLES RED DEVILS WEDNESDAY
Iowa Wesleyan shot 56 percent from the field and made 10 of its 14 3-pointers during the second half, turning a three-point halftime lead into a 106-74 SLIAC victory over Eureka, Wednesday night in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
The Tigers led by as many nine points (19-10) in the first 20 minutes, but EC slowly battled back to claim a 35-33 advantage after Shea Feehan connected from beyond the arc at the 2:53 mark of the half. IWU broke a 37-37 tie in the final minute of the half and led 40-37 at intermission.
Iowa Wesleyan started to pull away with 14:49 remaining on C.J. Singletary's transition bucket for a 57-47 cushion.
CHECKING IN WITH SHEA
With the regular season more than half gone, Shea Feehan is on pace to challenge a handful of single-season Eureka records.
Feehan, who shared the single-season record for points per game last season with 22.1, is well on his way to shattering his own record. Feehan's 28.1 scoring average this season is six points per game better than the previous record. Teammate Kendall Davis is averaging 24.3 points this season, on pace to be second-most in a season at Eureka.
At the foul line, Feehan has made 120 free throws this season, already fourth-most in a season at Eureka during the Red Devils' Division III era. Craig Negangard owns the EC record with 152 free throws during the 2003-04 campaign.
Additionally, Feehan's season free throw percentage of 92.3 -- currently ninth-best in Division III -- is on pace to break Michael Sain's NCAA Division III-era record of 91.7 percent set during the 1982-83 season.
Looking ahead, Feehan needs only 19 more free throws to tie Greg Crider for 10th place on Eureka's career free throw list during the program's Division III era. Feehan has made 195 career foul shots. Negangard owns the record with 417 free throw from 2000 through 2004.
Eureka College will recognize men's basketball head coach Chip Wilde for 10 years of service to the College, Saturday.
Eureka men's basketball alumni are invited to attend the event scheduled to begin immediately following the women's contest at approximately 6:30 p.m. A reception will follow in the Hall of Fame Room.
Blackburn is 8-8 overall and 5-4 against SLIAC opponents, having dropped three of its last four contests. The Beavers are 4-5 this season in true road contests and will be looking for their second straight road win after winning at Spalding last weekend, 81-73.
Four Beavers score at least 12.1 points per game, including 13.8 apiece from senior guard Chris Davis and senior frountcourt threat Willie Orange. DeAndre Manuel (13.3) and Jake Maestranzi (12.1) also contribute signficantly to an offensive attack that averages 83.5 points per game.
Blackburn averages 9.4 steals per game, second-most in the SLIAC. Despite the active defense, BC blocks only 1.6 shots on average and yields 84.8 points per game.
The Beavers were picked to finish seventh in the SLIAC this season, according to a preseason coaches' poll.
Blackburn is a charter member of the SLIAC. The Beavers swept the league's regular season and tournament championships in 1991 and again in 1992.
In all, the Beavers have won five regular-season SLIAC crowns and three SLIAC Tournament titles. BC has not qualified for the SLIAC Tournament since 2006.
ABOUT THE HEAD COACHES
Chip Wilde is in his 10th season directing the Red Devils. The Macomb, Ill. native has 113 wins at EC, fourth-most in program history.
In all, Wilde has coached two SLIAC Players of the Year, 15 All-SLIAC selections, five SLIAC All-Tournament Team selections, four SLIAC All-Defensive Team picks and 29 SLIAC Player of the Week choices.
The 2016-17 season is Steve Kollar's second as head coach at Blackburn. Kollar is 18-23 in Carlinville and on track to potentially guide the Beavers to their first winning record since the 2005-06 season.
Kollar is a 2005 graduate of Elmhurst where he played for Eureka College Hall of Famer Mark Scherer. Kollar owns prior coaching experience at St. Francis (Ill.) and Benedictine.
SERIES VERSUS BLACKBURN
The Red Devils are 38-17 against Blackburn since 1974, including a 21-5 record in the series at the Reagan Athletic Complex.
Eureka has won 10 in a row over BC in Eureka, nine of which have come under 10th-year head coach Chip Wilde. Blackburn will be in search of its first win over the Red Devils in Eureka since a 61-56 triumph on Nov. 23, 2004.
Since becoming SLIAC rivals prior to the 2006-07 season, Eureka is 17-4 against Blackburn.
LAST TIME VERSUS BLACKBURN
Shea Feehan continued his early-season scoring spree with 36 points, but Blackburn claimed a second-half lead and eventually survived a frantic final possession from the Red Devils to escape with a 92-90 SLIAC win on Nov. 30, 2016 in Carlinville, Ill.
Trailing 92-90, Eureka had two looks at what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer, but both attempts were unsuccessful.
Feehan was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line for the Red Devils, who led 48-38 at halftime thanks to a 20-for-33 team shooting effort.
Six Beavers finished the contest with double-digit points totals, led by a 20-point showing from DeAndre Manuel. The Beavers shot 46 percent for the game, including a 54-percent (21-for-39) performance in the second half.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live video broadcast via its YouTube channel. It is the first time Eureka has streamed a game live via YouTube. Live statistics will also be available at EurekaRedDevils.com.
The Eureka College media relations staff will provide updates throughout the game via Twitter at @EurekaGameDay.