EUREKA, Ill. -- Playing at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for the first time, Eureka College junior guard Kendall Davis (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Illinois Central) erupted for 37 points and eight rebounds, igniting the Red Devils in a 92-78 victory over Rockford. The contest marked Eureka's home opener for the 2016-17 season.
Rockford stunned the Red Devils early, sprinting to an 18-7 lead in the first eight minutes of the contest. EC responded with a flurry, engineering a 16-2 outburst that ended with a 3-pointer and two free throws from Davis for a 23-20 lead with 9:06 left before halftime.
The Regents forced a 29-29 tie on Zach Wallace's layup less than four minutes later, but Eureka would never trail again. The EC cushion swelled to 10 in the final minute of the first half, 47-37, when junior forward Jake Wood (Centralia, Ill./Centralia H.S./Lincoln) connected from long range. Eureka led 47-39 at halftime.
Eureka's advantage wouldn't dip below two possessions after halftime. A Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) 3-pointer extended EC's lead to 70-55 before Rockford eventually pulled to a 77-71 deficit with 4:29 left. Davis responded with a 3-point play just 11 seconds later, starting a 15-7 run from the Red Devils to close the game.
Davis went 13-for-21 from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line. His effort at the foul line helped anchor an outstanding 20-for-22 team effort from the hosts.
Sophomore Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) also provided plenty of offensive punch for the Red Devils, logging 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Feehan was 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Sophomore Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) also reached double figures for the second consecutive contest with 13 points. Wood tacked on 11 off the bench.
Wallace led all players with 32 points and 19 rebounds in a losing cause. The Regents shot just 3-for-19 from beyond the arc and committed 17 turnovers that led to 24 EC points.
Saturday's matchup was the 41st between the two schools since 1975. Eureka owns a slim 21-20 advantage in the series and has won three straight over the Regents inside the Reagan Athletic Complex.
Eureka is 2-0 for the first time since opening 2012-13 season with three straight wins. The Red Devils will try to match that effort Tuesday when USCAA Robert Morris-Peoria visits Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for a 5 p.m. non-conference tip-off.