EUREKA – For the first time this season, the Eureka men's basketball team is headed on the road to take on Fontbonne.
It will the first of three scheduled matchups between the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic foes, but this one will be a non-conference contest. It's going down in St. Louis on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Setting the Scene
The Red Devils (1-0) are coming off an 85-78 season-opening win over Iowa Wesleyan on Saturday. The team led early, fell behind before half, saw the deficit increase to 13 early in the second half, and then came storming back to regain control and pick up the win.
Eureka improved from 43.5 percent shooting in the first half to 55.2 in the second – and finished with 49 second-half points. The maroon and gold also knocked down 6-of-11 3-point attempts in the second half and only made nine turnovers in the game.
Fontbonne (0-2), which was picked to finish at the top of the field in the SLIAC by league coaches, opened the season with a pair of non-conference losses to Illinois College. The Griffins dropped an 81-75 contest last Wednesday at home and an 83-75 contest on the road on Friday.
They've averaged 75 points on 41.1 percent shooting from the field, 31.8 percent from 3-point range and 61.5 percent from the charity stripe. They've turned the ball over 12 times per game, distributed 14.5 assists and outrebounded Illinois College by 1 1/2 boards per game.
SLIAC Player of the Week Chris Daniels was the Red Devils' leading scorer with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting and led the team in assists with five. Ian Milsteadt was right behind him with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting and notched nine rebounds and three assists.
Jaedon Banks led the team in rebounds with 11 on a day in which he also put up 12 points to record his first career double-double, made two of the team's four blocks and threw down a momentous tip-dunk. Three Red Devils – Milsteadt, Jordan Brooks and Andrew Gonazalez – made a pair of 3-pointers, and Charlie McKinty came up with two of the team's five steals in his EC debut.
Fontbonne sophomore Elijah Rice avergaed 20 points per game in the two games against Illinois College, scoring 25 at home and 15 on the road. He has also shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc and has gone 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.
Anthony Jones and Gus Kleekamp are posting double figures at 15.5 and 10 points per game, respectively. Kleekamp is pulling down a team-high eight boards per game, distributing a team-high four assists per game and making a team-high three steals per game.
The Red Devils hold a 16-14 edge over Fontbonne in the all-time series and have won seven of the last nine meetings going back to Feb. 13, 2016. The two teams have split the last two seasons. Last year, the Griffins earned a 114-110 overtime win at its place, while the Red Devils scored a 98-83 win at theirs.
In addition to Eureka's non-conference road game at Fontbonne on Tuesday, the Red Devils also have a tough non-conference test at Illinois College waiting for them on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Illinois College is 3-1 with two wins over Fontbonne, a six-point win over Cornell College and a three-point loss to Dominican.