Red Devils Set to Host Westminster Wednesday

Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.
Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.

PDF Version of Eureka Game Notes

EUREKA, Ill. -- With the arrival of the final week of the 2016-17 regular season, the Eureka College men's basketball team will host St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Westminster on Wednesday in a 5 p.m. start at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

ABOUT EUREKA

Eureka owns a 13-10 overall record and a 7-9 SLIAC record. The Red Devils are guaranteed to finish the 25-game regular season with a winning record for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Sophomore guard Shea Feehan will enter Wednesday's game with 587 points this season. He needs 13 more points to become the fourth player in program history to reach the 600-point mark in a season. Chris Peterson set the program's single-season scoring record in 1993-94 with 653 points in 31 games.

Additionally, junior guard Kendall Davis is within striking distance of reaching the 600-point mark this season. The Illinois Central transfer has 551 points in 2016-17. Feehan and Davis could become just the second set of teammates in program history to score at least 600 points in a season, joining Peterson (653), Troy Tyler (613) and Chris Eaton (610) from the 1993-94 Red Devils.

The Red Devils' 146-point effort Saturday against Greenville bumped their season scoring average to 92.3 points per game, sixth-most in NCAA Division III. The 92.3 scoring average is also on pace to break the program's single-season team scoring record of 87.3 set during the 1993-94 national-championiship season.

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.

GREENVILLE SPOILS FEEHAN'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE SATURDAY

For the second time in less than five weeks, Eureka and Greenville played to the highest scoring game in SLIAC history, as the Panthers came from behind to defeat the Red Devils 149-146 on Saturday afternoon at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. The decision spoiled a 20-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double from Shea Feehan.

The Panthers and Red Devils combined for 295 points, breaking the previous combined SLIAC scoring record of 287 set on three different occasions by Greenville and its opponents earlier this season. Eureka fell three points shy of matching its single-game team scoring record set during a 149-37 victory over Barat (Ill.) on Nov. 29, 1989.

The Red Devils held a seven-point lead (146-139) with 59 seconds to play, but GC scored 10 straight points to close the game. Johari Dix pulled the Panthers within four on a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left. Following an EC turnover, Kenny Greene brought the visitors within one, 146-145, when his deep 3-pointer banked in. Another EC turnover allowed the Panthers to take the lead, 147-146, on Shane Smith's layup with 22 seconds to play.

Down one, Eureka couldn't convert at the offensive end. GC extended the lead to three after two free throws with eight seconds left. Faced with one final chance to tie in the closing seconds, Eureka's 3-point try was partially blocked at the buzzer.

In all, the game featured six ties and 14 lead changes. Eureka overcame a 22-point first-half deficit. When the Red Devils claimed their largest lead of the afternoon, 129-121, it put the exclamation point on a 77-47 run that covered 18-minutes, 19-seconds over the middle portion of the game.

Feehan's triple-double was Eureka's first since Seth Wickert compiled 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists at MacMurray on Feb. 4, 2015. Feehan also had five steals Saturday.

Hank Thomas beat the GC defense for 42 points, his second 40-point game against the Panthers this season. He went 9-for-11 from 3-point range and 13-for-16 overall. Kendall Davis scored 32 points off the bench and Jordan Dehm logged his first double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

ABOUT WESTMINSTER

Westminster remains in a battle for at least a share of the regular-season SLIAC championship and the right to host the league tournament. The Blue Jays are 16-7 overall and 12-4 in the SLIAC, trailing first-place Greenville in the current league standings with two games to play.

Three Westminster juniors carry the load offensively. Romo Tabb leads the group with 16.0 points per game, followed by Sean O'Brien (15.3) and Jimmy Villalobos (12.4). Tabb also leads the Blue Jays in rebounding with 6.0 per game. WC scores 79.7 points per game.

The Blue Jays make it difficult for their opponents to score, limiting the opposition to a league-low 72.6 points per game. Westminser also leads the 10-team SLIAC in field goal percentage defense (.429) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.335).

Westminster is a charter member of the SLIAC. WC won at least a share of three consecutive regular-season league championships (2009-11) and has won four SLIAC Tournament championships, including the 2016 crown.

In all, the Blue Jays have qualified for 17 SLIAC Tournaments, tied with in-state rival Webster for most in league history. The Blue Jays have won 18 league tournament games, more than any school in SLIAC history.

ABOUT THE HEAD COACHES

Chip Wilde is in his 10th season directing the Red Devils. The Macomb, Ill. native has 117 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.

Matt Mitchell is currently in his 19th season directing the Blue Jays. The three-time SLIAC Coach of the Year has led WC to three SLIAC regular season championships, as well as the SLIAC Tournament titles in 2010, 2012 and 2016.

The Lexington, Mo. native played collegiately for Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson at Arkansas before earning his undergraduate degree from UA in 1987. He owns a master's degree from Western Illinois.

Mitchell, who worked alongside Eureka head coach Chip Wilde as assistants at Western Illinois during the 1988-89 season, also serves at WC's Senior Director of Athletic Advancement.

SERIES VERSUS WESTMINSTER

The Red Devils and Blue Jays have met on the hardwood 37 times since Jan. 13, 1988. WC leads the all-time series, 23-14, and owns a 9-8 record in 17 previous matchups with the Red Devils at the Reagan Athletic Complex.

Eureka has squared off against Westminster in three of its four SLIAC Tournament appearances.

The Blue Jays defeated the Red Devils for the tournament title in Fulton in 2010 and also eliminated EC in the semifinal round of the 2012 tournament in St. Louis, Mo. Eureka returned the favor with a semifinal win in 2013 in Louisville, Ky.

LAST TIME VERSUS WESTMINSTER

Shea Feehan scored 13 points, but host Westminster used a quick start to notch a 79-60 SLIAC victory over EC last Monday night in Fulton, Mo.

The Blue Jays led Monday's game 39-24 at halftime after shooting 47 percent from the floor and 40 percent from long range in the first 20 minutes.

Eureka fought to close the gap in the second half, using a 12-4 run midway through the frame thanks to baskets from Koby White, Feehan, Jordan Dehm and Brady Sanders, but the push wasn't enough.

Sanders matched a then-career high with 12 points off the bench. Kendall Davis and sophomore Alex Wiegand each added eight points.

FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE

Links to a live video stream and live statistics be available at EurekaRedDevils.com and sliac.org.

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