Preview: Red Devils Aim to Extend Home Win Streak Wednesday

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College men's basketball team will return to the Reagan Athletic Complex to begin a two-game homestand when the Red Devils welcome St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival MacMurray Wednesday for an 8 p.m. tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. Eureka is a perfect 7-0 on Dave Darnall Court this season, including four victories against league foes.

PDF Version of Eureka Men's Basketball Game Notes

ABOUT EUREKA
The Red Devils saw their three-game win streak come to a halt Saturday in a 111-97 setback at defending league champion Greenville. The defeat bumped the Red Devils out of the the top spot in the SLIAC standings. Eureka is 12-5 overall and 7-3 in the SLIAC. EC remains in the thick of the pursuit for its first SLIAC regular-season championship, just one game behind league-leading Greenville. The top four teams in the final regular-season standings qualify for the league's annual postseason tournament and the Red Devils own a one-game lead over three teams -- Westminster, Spalding and Principia -- tied for third place.
 
As the regular season enters its final four weeks, EC checks in 13th in Division III in scoring offense with 90.5 points per game. The Red Devils are one of only 79 teams nationally to shoot 47 percent from the field or better and rank 44th in the country with a 74.9 team free throw percentage. Additionally, EC's big effort Saturday at Greenville increased its defensive rebounding average to a Division III-best 34.4 per game.
 
Eureka has been dominant at home this season, averaging 99.9 points per game and putting up a perfect 7-0 record. The Red Devils are 17-5 in their last 22 games on Dave Darnall Court and 77-45 at home since head coach Chip Wilde arrived prior to the 2007-08 season.
 
The Red Devils are in their 40th season as a member of NCAA Division III and their 12th season as a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eureka returns three starters, all juniors, from last season's 13-win team that broke the program's single-season record for team scoring with 90.5 points per game. In all, EC returns 18 letterwinners from last season.
 
GREENVILLE OVERCOMES RED DEVILS SATURDAY
Shea Feehan poured in 47 points to earn his second consecutive 40-point game, but the Red Devils came up empty in a 111-97 SLIAC defeat at Greenville, Saturday afternoon.
 
The Red Devils led by as many as 12 points in the first half and took a 53-48 lead into the locker room at halftime. GU eventually snagged the lead, 73-72, on Johari Dix's basket with 11:26 remaining. Two two teams traded the lead two mores times, as another field goal from Dix just 29 seconds later gave the hosts the lead for the remainder of the afternoon.
 
Dakota Bennington scored 19 points and hauled down a career-high 12 rebounds off the bench. Hank Thomas netted 16.
 
FEEHAN REACHES 40 TWICE, NAMED SLIAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Thanks to a pair of 40-point games on the road in league action last week, Shea Feehan collected his fourth SLIAC Player of the Week award of the season on Monday.
 
Feehan averaged 45.5 points and shot 64 percent (29-for-45) from the field. He also averaged 6.0 rebounds, shot 45 percent from 3-point range (9-for-20) and 80 percent (24-for-30) at the foul line. The Peoria Notre Dame product has reached the 40-point mark five times in his Eureka career, including a school-record 49 points at Knox on Nov. 26, 2017 and a 40-point effort against MacMurray on Dec. 2, 2017.
 
Feehan will enter Wednesday's game ranked seventh on EC's all-time scoring list with 1,441 points. He trails Greg Nunn (1984-87) by 23 points for sixth place and will likely become just the sixth player in program history and the first since EC Hall of Famer Craig Negangard in 2004 to score 1,500 career points later this month.
 
ABOUT MacMURRAY
MacMurray is 7-10 overall and 3-7 in SLIAC play to own a tie for eighth place in the current league standings. The Highlanders trail Westminster and Principia by three games for the final slot in next month's SLIAC Tournament. MC has won three of its last five outings, including an 81-75 triumph over Blackburn last Saturday in Jacksonville.
 
Senior forward Brent Long has been a force inside for the Highlanders this season. One of only two players in the SLIAC to average a double-double, Long has put up 20.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game over 17 starting assignments. He is also one of the league's most accurate shooters, ranking fifth at 57.7 percent. Senior guard Michael Cameron also scores in double figures with 12.0 points and leads the conference with 97 assists.
 
Anchored by Long's interior effort, the Highlanders outrebound their opponents by nearly nine rebounds per game, the 13th-best margin among Division III teams. MC also ranks 17th in the country with 18.6 assists per game.
 
MacMurray, less than a year removed from a ninth-place SLIAC finish with a 4-14 league record, moved up the ladder to be picked second in the league's preseason coaches' poll and received four first-place votes. A charter member of the SLIAC, MacMurray has won or shared five SLIAC regular-season championships. The Highlanders won the SLIAC Tournament in 1993 and again in 1999. 
 
THE SERIES VERSUS MacMURRAY
Eureka and MacMurray will meet for the 55th time since 1974 on Wednesday. The two schools have split the last 54 meetings, 27-27, but the Red Devils own a 15-11 record in the last 26 bouts at the Reagan Athletic Complex.
 
The Highlanders swept last season's home-and-home SLIAC series, have won 11 of the last 15 overall and seven of their last eight visits to the Reagan Athletic Complex.
 
Eureka ended a three-game skid in the series on Dec. 2 with an 82-66 win over the Highlanders in Jacksonville behind 40 points from junior guard Shea Feehan
 
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
The owner of more than two decades of coaching experience at the collegiate level, Chip Wilde is in his 11th season as head coach at Eureka. The current campaign marks Wilde's 20th season as a collegiate basketball head coach.
 
Wilde has proved to be one of the most successful head coaches in the storied history of Eureka men's basketball, establishing the Red Devils as a steady presence in the SLIAC both on the court and in the classroom. Wilde has 128  wins at EC, third-most in the 99-year history of the program.
 
Now in his 11th season, Todd Creal owns a 120-153 record as the head coach at MacMurray. The two-time SLIAC Coach of the Year piloted the Highlanders to a share of back-to-back regular-season league titles in 2015 and 2016. MC has also qualified for six SLIAC Tournament semifinals under Creal and a berth in the title game in 2012. Creal is a 1998 graduate of Illinois College. He has previous collegiate coaching experience as an assistant at IC, Augustana and Millikin.