GRINNELL, Iowa – Eureka carved more than 20 points off an early second-half deficit in Tuesday night's non-conference game at Grinnell, but the Pioneers were able to weather the late rally and secure a 131-108 win over the Red Devils at Darby Gymnasium in Grinnell, Iowa. Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) led the visitors with 29 points.
Thomas led the Red Devils in scoring for the second consecutive outing. Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) scored 25 points and Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) tallied 16 of his career-high 22 points in the first half and also pulled down 13 rebounds for the game's only double-double.
Donald Hardaway, Jr. (Lansing, Ill./Cimarron Memorial/Daley) gave the visitors four scorers in double figures by matching his personal best with 10 points. The Red Devils committed only 15 turnovers against GC's swarming full-court pressure that forced an average of 28.0 turnovers per contest last season.
Using its trademark "System" offense, Grinnell took its first lead at the 18:00 mark of the first half and grabbed a double-digit lead less than six minutes into the contest. The Pioneers ultimately went 20-for-40 from beyond the arc in the first half, including a 7-for-11 effort from Hannes Kogelnik, en route to building a 77-47 halftime lead.
Eureka began chipping away at the big deficit when Wiegand hit a 3-pointer from the corner at the 16:04 mark of the second half. The Red Devils outscored the Pioneers 49-30 during a 13-minute stretch that covered the middle portion of the second half, but didn't have enough time to dig out of the early hole.
The Red Devils will be back home Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. non-conference start against Knox at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.