EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College men's basketball team will put its six-game home win streak on the line Saturday when Iowa Wesleyan visits Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for a 3 p.m. St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tip-off. Eureka will welcome former women's and men's players Saturday and host its annual basketball alumni celebration at halftime.
Preview: Eureka Hosts Iowa Wesleyan Saturday For Alumni Day
Jan 12, 2018
The Red Devils are 10-4 overall and moved into a first-place tie in the SLIAC standings with a 5-2 record after sailing to a 95-59 win at Westminster last Wednesday. Eureka is off to its best 14-game start since the 1993-94 Red Devils opened 12-2 en route to the NAIA Division II national title.
Eureka boasts a high-powered offense, exceeding 80 points nine times and averaging 89.1 points per game to rank second in the SLIAC only behind Greenville's "System" offense gimmick. The Red Devils also pace the 10-team league with a 77 percent team free throw percentage and 33.4 defensive rebounds per game. Additionally, EC ranks second in the league in 3-pointers made per game (9.5), 3-point field goal percentage (.381) and total rebounds per game (43.4).
Junior guard Shea Feehan scored 22 points Wednesday and now has 1,322 for his three-year career to move in front of Bob Strickland (1954-58) for ninth place on the Red Devils' career scoring list. Feehan also hit a pair of 3-pointers Wednesday to tie Brady Wildenradt (2005-09) and Troy Tyler (1990-94) for fifth place on the program's all-time list with 164.
Eureka is a perfect 6-0 at home this season and 23-7 (.767) in 30 games on Dave Darnall Court since the renovation to the Reagan Athletic Complex in 2015. The Red Devils' single-season program record for home victories is 13, set in 1991-92 and matched in 1992-93. The Red Devils won 41 consecutive home games from Nov. 23, 1991 through Jan. 28, 1995.
The Red Devils are in their 40th season as a member of NCAA Division III and their 12th season as a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eureka returns three starters, all juniors, from last season's 13-win team that broke the program's single-season record for team scoring with 90.5 points per game. In all, EC returns 18 letterwinners from last season.
RED DEVILS REGAIN FIRST-PLACE SHARE WEDNESDAY
Dakota Bennington pumped in a career-high 25 points off the bench and Shea Feehan tacked on 22, paving the way for the Red Devils to reclaim a share of first place in the SLIAC standings in Wednesday's 95-59 league romp over Westminster in Fulton, Mo.
Westminster trailed 44-38 at halftime and hung around for the first few minutes of the second half before Alex Wiegand's baseline dunk triggered a dominant stretch from EC over the game's final 16 minutes. The EC advantage reached 20 when Feehan scored for a 68-48 lead. In all, Eureka closed the contest on a 45-13 barrage.
Bennington produced his most efficient outing in a Red Devil uniform, going 8-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line for 25 points in just 18 minutes. The Red Devils shot 59 percent as a team and did much of their damage at the free throw line, delivering a 26-for-30 team effort. A total of 13 Red Devils saw minutes in the victory, 11 of which made a field goal.
ABOUT IOWA WESLEYAN
The Tigers own a 2-12 overall record and a 2-5 conference mark for eighth place in the league standings, but snapped a four-game skid on Wednesday in a 100-97 victory over Fontbonne in Mount Pleasant. IWU is 1-6 on the road this season, toppling Blackburn 88-85 in Carlinville on Dec. 16 for its lone road win of the campaign.
Senior guard Brock Butler leads the Tigers and ranks second in the SLIAC behind Feehan with 24.5 points per contest. He shoots 45 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the free throw line and also collects a team-best 7.3 rebounds on average. Senior forward Mitchell Drey adds 15.2 points per night and senior guard Elijah Johnson gives IWU three players in double figures with 10.9 on average.
Sophomore Jake Neubauer (41.5), Drey (40.7) and sophomore Austin Banks (40.0) all shoot 40 percent or better from 3-point range, helping IWU put together the SLIAC's third-highest team 3-point field goal percentage at 36.1. At the other end of the floor, the Tigers yield 95.0 points per game and opponents have gone over the century mark five times through the season's first 14 games. IWU is also the league's worst rebounding team with 29.2 board per game and a minus-15.9 average on the glass.
IWU finished in a second-place tie in last season's standings, but were picked eighth this season in a preason coaches' poll. The Tigers are ineligible for the NCAA and SLIAC postseasons due to their provisional status as a member of Division III. The 2017-18 season is IWU's final provisional season as its completes its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III.
THE SERIES VERSUS IOWA WESLEYAN
Iowa Wesleyan swept last season's home-and-home SLIAC series, including an 84-82 win in the regular-season finale in Eureka last February.
The two squads have split eight meetings since the Tigers joined the league prior to the 2013-14 season. Eureka is 22-14 overall in its last 36 bouts with IWU since December 1974, including a 16-3 mark at the Reagan Athletic Complex.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
The owner of more than two decades of coaching experience at the collegiate level, Chip Wilde is in his 11th season as head coach at Eureka. The current campaign marks Wilde's 20th season as a collegiate basketball head coach.
Wilde has proved to be one of the most successful head coaches in the storied history of Eureka men's basketball, establishing the Red Devils as a steady presence in the SLIAC both on the court and in the classroom. Wilde has 127 wins at EC, third-most in the 99-year history of the program.
Former Upper Iowa assistant Alex Huisman is in his fourth season as head coach at Iowa Wesleyan. The 2011 UIU graduate owns a 45-45 record with the Tigers.
Huisman served Upper Iowa as a men's basketball graduate assistant for two seasons before jumping across the state to be an assistant coach for the Tigers.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live video broadcast and live statistics of Saturday's game. Links to both services will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, sliac.org and D3hoops.com.