GALESBURG, Ill. – The accolades keep rolling in for Eureka College junior guard Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.). Less than a week removed from reaching the 1,000-point plateau, Feehan broke Eureka's single-game scoring record with 49 points in the Red Devils' 103-89 victory at Knox, Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium in Galesburg, Ill.
Feehan broke the previous single-game Eureka scoring record of 47 points set by Bob Strickland against Rose-Hulman on Dec. 7, 1957. Feehan was 14-for-26 from the field, 4-for-12 from 3-point range and 17-for-20 from the free throw line. His effort Sunday also surpassed his previous career high of 40 set in an 89-86 win over Monmouth on Nov. 27, 2016.
Sunday's win improved the Red Devils to 4-1 overall, the 11th time in EC's Division III era (1978-present) and the second consecutive season the Red Devils have won at least four of their first five games to begin the campaign. The victory was also the 121st of head coach Chip Wilde's Eureka tenure, moving Wilde into a third-place tie with Eureka Hall of Famer Ralph McKinzie (1921-37) on the Red Devils' all-time coaching wins list. Eureka has also eclipsed the 100-point mark as a team three times in the month of November for the first time in program history.
The Red Devils trailed by as many as five early before another big first-half run pushed the visitors in front. Feehan tied the game at 22-22 with a basket at the 9:24 mark of the period and later pushed EC in front 25-24 with a 3-pointer just 68 seconds later. The field goals came as part of a 29-13 surge to end the half and Feehan's 3-point play with 1:10 left before the buzzer gave Eureka's its biggest lead of the frame, 46-33. The advantage was 46-35 at halftime.
Knox scored the first 10 points of the second half and pulled within a point, 46-45, when Jonathan Damota scored at the 17:24 mark of the half. The Prairie Fire finally pulled even with 11:58 to play on another basket from Damota.
The score was tied as late as the 10:31 mark of the second period on Deryk Ruple's 3-pointer, 65-65, but the Red Devils would never trail in the second half. Feehan answered Ruple's bucket with a triple of his own just 34 seconds later and Eureka would lead the rest of the way. Three Feehan free throws helped the visitors regain a double-digit cushion (90-79) with 4:16 remaining and the Prairie Fire wouldn't get any closer than six points over the remainder of regulation time.
Eureka shot 53 percent from the field as a team and crushed the Prairie Fire from the foul line, making 28 of 34 attempts. Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) put together his best offensive effort in a Eureka uniform, pouring in a career-high 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. He added five rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals. Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) blocked four KC shot attempts and Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) collected a team-high eight rebounds.
Five Knox players reached double figures in scoring, led by 26 from Ruple. Marko Protic had the game's only double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Prairie Fire came up short despite making 13 3-pointers Sunday.
Eureka will now turn its attention to the 18-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule. Reigning league champion Greenville and its unique "system" offense will visit the Reagan Athletic Complex Wednesday for an 8 p.m. start.