JOLIET, Ill. – The Eureka College men's basketball team dropped its final game of the calendar year on Tuesday afternoon, a 105-90 decision to NAIA St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. The decision marked Eureka's first non-conference defeat of the season.
The Fighting Saints jumped out to a six-point lead less than four minutes into the contest before the Red Devils responded with a 21-10 run. A 3-pointer from junior Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) gave EC its first lead at 20-17 and a 3-point play from junior guard Kendall Davis (Peoria, Ill./Limestone H.S./Illinois Central) capped the burst with EC in front, 27-22.
USF regained the lead less than two minutes later on Jo Jo Ballestero's triple with 9:20 left before halftime. The hosts ultimately extended their lead to 57-44 at intermission.
Sophomore guard Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) hit a 3-pointer on Eureka's first possession of the second half to pull within 57-47, but Eureka would be unable to draw any closer over the final 20 minutes.
Sophomore guard Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) scored a game-high 25 points for the Red Devils. He went 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Thomas tacked on 12 points and four assists and sophomore forward Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) poured in 11. Freshman Austin Zielsdorf (Colfax, Ill./Ridgeview H.S.) scored two points in his collegiate debut and freshman Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) added his first career field goal.
All five USF starters scored at least 10 points, led by 21 apiece from Jake Raspopovich and Jo Jo Ballestero.
The Red Devils will take a break from game competition for the holidays. Eureka will resume St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. against Fontbonne at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.