Eureka Returns Home to Host Webster Wednesday

Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.
Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.

PDF Version of Eureka Game Notes

EUREKA, Ill. -- St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play continues for the Eureka College men's basketball team Wednesday when the Red Devils host Webster in an 8 p.m. tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. EC, which defeated WU 86-78 last month in St. Louis, will aim for its first season series sweep of the Gorloks since the 2008-09 season.

ABOUT EUREKA

The Red Devils will try to return to the win column Wednesday after Saturday's 93-86 setback at Principia. Eureka is 12-6 overall and 6-5 in the SLIAC. EC is a perfect 8-0 at home this season and has won 10 contests in a row on Dave Darnall Court dating back Feb. 10, 2016.

Eureka ranks sixth in NCAA Division III with a team scoring average of 93.3 points per game. The Red Devils' top scorer in each game this season has poured in at least 25 points.

Sophomore guard Shea Feehan scores 27.8 points per game, second-most nationally. He's followed closely by junior guard Kendall Davis, who puts up 24.6 points per game, eighth-most in Division III. Davis, a Peoria native and a transfer from Illinois Central, also ranks third nationally with 172 field goals made.

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.

RED DEVILS FALL SHORT AT PRINCIPIA

Hank Thomas put up 30 points and the Red Devils connected from beyond the arc 14 times, but Principia overcame EC's second-half rally and earned a 93-86 SLIAC win, Saturday afternoon at Hay Field House in Elsah, Ill.

Thomas went 12-for-19 from the field and 6-for-10 from 3-point range to reach the 30-point plateau for the second time this season. Kendall Davis was next for EC with 16 points and Alex Wiegand scored 13. Eureka logged 19 assists as a team, including a game-high six from Ryan McElmurry.

FEEHAN NEARING FREE THROW RECORD

Eureka sophomore Shea Feehan will enter Wednesday's game with 147 free throws this season, needing five more foul shots to tie Eureka's NCAA Division III-era single-season record of 152 set by Craig Negangard during the 2003-04 season.

Despite playing in only 31 career games since joining the Red Devils at semester break last season, Feehan has already cracked Eureka's career free throws list during the program's Division III era. The Peoria, Ill. native has made 225 carerer free throws and passed Hughley Blanton (1976-80) for ninth place on the list on Thursday.

Feehan needs three more foul shots to tie Michael Sain (1979-83) for eighth place and 15 more free throws to equal Jordan Kindred (2008-13) for seventh place. Negangard owns the all-time Eureka record for free throws made during the Division III era with 417.

ABOUT WEBSTER

The Gorloks will bring an 11-8 mark and an 8-4 SLIAC record into Wednesday's game. WU has won four straight contests, including SLIAC road victories at Fontbonne on Feb. 18 and at Greenville on Feb. 21.

Senior forward Hunter Ward is the Gorloks'  top scorer at 16.5 points per game, but the St. Louis native hasn't played since suffering an apparent leg injury in the final minutes of Webster's loss to Eureka in St. Louis on Jan. 9.

Webster receives steady contributions from several other players, three of which score at least 12.7 points per game. Sophomore forward Evan Milligan leads the trio with a 13.7 scoring average, followed by senior guards Xavier Dortch (12.7) and CJ Moore (12.7). Milligan shoots 61 percent from the floor and Dortch connects from 3-point range at a 45 percent clip. Milligan also hauls down a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game.

The Gorloks rank near the middle of the SLIAC in scoring as a team, putting up 80.6 points per game to ranks sixth among league schools. WU shoots 49 percent from the floor, 36 percent from 3-point range and 68 percent from the foul line. WU leads the 10-team league with an average of 5.5 blocked shots per game.

A charter member of the SLIAC, Webster is the winningest men's basketball program in league history. WU has won 261 SLIAC games between the regular season and postseason tournament since beginning competition in 1990. The Gorloks have won eight SLIAC regular-season titles, including at least a share of the crown in five of the last 10 seasons.

Additionally, Webster won SLIAC Tournament championships in 2011 and 2014. Last season, the Gorloks missed the SLIAC Tournament for the first time since 1995.

ABOUT THE HEAD COACHES

Chip Wilde is in his 10th season directing the Red Devils. The Macomb, Ill. native has 116 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.

One of the longest tenured men's basketball head coaches in the SLIAC, Chris Bunch is in his 15th season at Webster. His record is 228-156.

Six of the Gorloks' eight SLIAC championships have come with Bunch on the bench. He is a four-time SLIAC Coach of the Year and piloted the Gorloks to NCAA Tournament berths in 2011 and 2014.

Prior to his appointment at Webster in 2002, the 1988 Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) graduate served as an assistant coach at Maryville (Tenn.).

SERIES VERSUS WEBSTER

Webster leads the all-time series with Eureka, 16-11.

The two squads met six times as non-conference rivals between 1986 and 2006. Eureka defeated Webster 93-78 in the first-ever matchup between the two programs on Jan. 12, 1986 in St. Louis.

Since becoming league rivals prior to the 2006-07 season, Webster owns a 13-8 advantage in the series.

Eureka is 6-5 against Webster at the Reagan Athletic Complex since WU's first trip to Eureka on Nov. 30, 2005. The Gorloks' 84-67 victory in Eureka last season snapped the Red Devils' three-game home win streak against WU.

LAST TIME VERSUS WEBSTER

Shea Feehan scored 28 of his game-high 35 points before halftime and Hank Thomas hit three critical 3-pointers in the final four minutes, lifting the Red Devils to an 86-78 SLIAC win at Webster on Jan. 9 in St. Louis, Mo.

Eureka went a perfect 22-for-22 from the free throw line, tying an identical 22-for-22 effort from King's (Pa.) against Delaware Valley on Jan. 4 for the most free throws without a miss in a Division III at that point in the season. The Red Devils also fell just six makes shy of the single-game NCAA Division III record for most makes without a miss. Albany went 28-for-28 as a team against SUNY Potsdam on Feb. 19, 1994.

The Red Devils led for much of the night, but trailed 70-67 with 6:29 to go. Eureka answered with an 8-0 burst, pulling within a point on two free throws from Feehan and taking the lead for good when Thomas drilled 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for a 75-70 lead with 3:23 remaining.

Four straight free throws from Brady Sanders and another triple from Thomas as the shot clock expired allowed the visitors to maintain a two-possession lead, 84-78, with 48 seconds left. Thomas iced the win with four more free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Feehan finished 9-for-19 overall, 7-for-14 from 3-point range and 10-for-10 from the line for his 35 points. Thomas connected from long range five times and was 4-for-4 from the floor, while Sanders earned his first career start and netted a career-high 12 points behind a 6-for-6 performance from the line. He also set or tied career-highs with seven rebounds, four assists and 36 minutes played.

Eureka outrebounded the hosts, 36-35, and committed only eight turnovers. The 22 free throws marked Eureka's most makes without a miss of the Chip Wilde coaching era, more than doubling the previous mark of nine set at Rose-Hulman on Dec. 15, 2011.

Enrique Tankins came off the bench to lead Webster with 14 points. The Gorloks shot 50 percent from the field (33-for-66), but sputtered to a 4-for-19 effort from 3-point range.

FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE

Eureka will provide live video and live statistics of Wednesday's game. Links to both services can be found at EurekaRedDevils.com and sliac.org.

The Eureka College media relations staff will provide updates throughout the game via Twitter at @EurekaGameDay.