Feehan, Thomas Drive Red Devils Past Webster, 86-78

Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.
Courtesy of Michael Hammerstrand.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Eureka College sophomore guard Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) scored 28 of his game-high 35 points before halftime and sophomore guard Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) hit three critical 3-pointers in the final four minutes, lifting the Red Devils to an 86-78 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win at Webster, Monday night in St. Louis, Mo.

Eureka went a perfect 22-for-22 from the free throw line, tying an identical 22-for-22 effort from King's (Pa.) against Delaware Valley on Jan. 4 for the most free throws without a miss in a Division III game this season. The Red Devils also fell just six makes shy of the single-game NCAA Division III record for most makes without a miss. Albany went 28-for-28 as a team against SUNY Potsdam on Feb. 19, 1994.

The Red Devils led for much of the night, but trailed the hosts after back-to-back field goals from Xavier Dortch and Hunter Ward pushed the Gorloks to a 70-67 advantage with 6:29 to go.

Eureka answered with an 8-0 burst, pulling within a point on two free throws from Feehan and taking the lead for good when Thomas drilled 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for a 75-70 lead with 3:23 remaining.

Four straight free throws from sophomore guard Brady Sanders (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Illinois Wesleyan) and another triple from Thomas as the shot clock expired allowed the visitors to maintain a two-possession lead, 84-78, with 48 seconds left. Thomas iced the win with four more free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Feehan ignited the EC offense in the first 20 minutes, connecting on five straight 3-pointers without a miss in a span of 6-minutes, 6-seconds for a 25-21 lead. Feehan ultimately made seven 3s in the period and scored 28 points to help Eureka take a 46-44 lead into the locker room.

EC nearly put the game away with a 9-0 run midway through the second half for 63-55 lead, but Webster answered with eight straight points of its own for a 63-63 deadlock with 9:28 left. The lead changed hands three more times, but the Gorloks never led by more than three points and Feehan's foul shots with 4:18 left sparked Eureka's 19-8 run to close the game.

Feehan finished 9-for-19 overall, 7-for-14 from 3-point range and 10-for-10 from the line for his 35 points. Thomas connected from long range five times and was 4-for-4 from the floor, while Sanders earned his first career start and netted a career-high 12 points behind a 6-for-6 performance from the line. He also set or tied career-highs with seven rebounds, four assists and 36 minutes played.

Eureka outrebounded the hosts, 36-35, and committed only eight turnovers. The 22 free throws marked Eureka's most makes without a miss of the Chip Wilde coaching era, more than doubling the previous mark of nine set at Rose-Hulman on Dec. 15, 2011.

Enrique Tankins came off the bench to lead Webster with 14 points. The Gorloks shot 50 percent from the field (33-for-66), but sputtered to a 4-for-19 effort from 3-point range.

The Red Devils' difficult stretch of five league road games in 12 days continues Wednesday when EC visits Greenville for an 8 p.m. tip-off.