EUREKA, Ill. – Playing at home against a non-conference opponent for the final time this season, the Eureka College men's basketball team secured a 72-64 victory over Dominican (Ill.), Tuesday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. Junior guard Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) scored 27 points, including the go-ahead basket with 3:33 to play in regulation.
The hosts put pressure on the Stars from the outset when Thomas scored to trigger an 11-0 EC run midway through the half. The Eureka lead was 19-6 with 10:36 to play before halftime after a Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) layup forced a DU timeout.
Dominican weathered the early storm and scored 24 of the final 38 points of the first half. Domenic Aiello pulled the Stars within a single point in the final minute, 31-30, but McElmurry buried a pair of free throws on the Red Devils' next trip for what held up as a 33-30 halftime lead.
The final 20 minutes featured six lead changes, the first coming when DU's Isaac Moore hit a triple for Dominican's first lead of the night, 44-43, with 13:05 to go. Eureka regained the lead less than four minutes later, but DU answered by taking its biggest advantage of the game, 58-54, on another Moore 3-pointer at the 6:09 mark.
Dominican took its final lead on Dennis Handy's layup for a 60-59 edge with 3:53 left. Thomas responded with a basket on EC's next possession and the Red Devils wouldn't trail again. Eureka scored its final 11 points from the free throw line – all without a miss – to put the game away in the final three minutes.
Thomas made nine field goals and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line in a game-high 37 minutes. Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) added 17 points. Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) narrowly missed a career high with 13 rebounds and Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) gathered 10 boards. Eureka outrebounded the visitors, 41-33.
Tim Robertson matched Thomas with 27 points off the bench to lead DU.
Eureka will be back in action in its last non-conference game of the 2017-18 season on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. against Division II Maryville in St. Louis, Mo. The Red Devils won four of six meetings with the Saints as SLIAC rivals before MU's jump to Division II in 2009.