EC Men Get Back In Win Column, Complete Sweep of Principia, 96-79

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.

EUREKA — The Eureka men's basketball team got the kind of win it's been looking for recently.

The Red Devils were decisive, sharp and in control en route to a 96-79 victory over Principia at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena on Tuesday evening.

The win completed a season sweep over the Panthers and put the Red Devils back on track in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play after falling twice by a combined five points last week. They're now 11-7 on the season and 6-5 in the SLIAC.

Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) notched a team-high 23 points, knocked three 3-pointers and gathered a team-high seven rebounds. He also moved up to ninth in program history in field goals with 506, surpassing Sam Reed (1978-82), and up to ninth in field goal attempts with 986, surpassing Rich Taylor (1983-87).

Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) was right there with him on Tuesday, tallying 20 points on an efficient 8-of-10 shooting from the floor and 3-of-5 shooting from distance while also pulling down six rebounds.

Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) added 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while big men Jaedon Banks (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Heights) and Kyler Stork (Normal, Ill./Normal West) each contributed 10 points.

Banks, a junior, went 3-of-5 from the floor with four boards, a block and only the second 3-pointer of his career. Stork, a senior, went 4-for-8 from the floor with three boards, two blocks, two assists and a steal.

Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) chipped in with seven points, four steals, four assists and no turnovers in 20 solid minutes off the bench.

The Red Devils shot 47.9 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from distance and went a perfect 16-for-16 at the free-throw line.

It was the team's most made 3s since Dec. 4 at Blackburn, and the team's most made free throws without a miss since going 22-for-22 in an 86-78 win at Webster on Jan. 9, 2017.

Principia kept it close for the first eight minutes, but EC went on a 9-0 run to take an 11-point lead with 10:04 left in the first half. The run started with a triple by Bennington off an assist by Jalen Hosea (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods). Dehm knocked down a jumper on the next possession, and later, Juergens scored layups on back-to-back plays.  

The Red Devils led by as many as 13 in the first half and went into halftime with a 50-37 advantage.

The Panthers hung around, keeping it within 10 for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but EC started pulling away after that.

Back-to-back jumpers by Bennington, followed by a Stork bucket inside made it 73-57 with less than nine minutes to play.

A pair of Stork free throws with 6:14 remaining gave EC a 21-point advantage — its largest lead of the night.

With less than a minute to play, freshman Andrew Gonzalez (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) hit a trey from the elbow, recording the first points of his collegiate career and the Red Devils' last basket of the game.

On Saturday, Eureka will head to Westminster for a rematch against the team that handed the Red Devils their first loss of SLIAC play. Tip-off is 3 p.m. at Historic Gymnasium.