JOLIET, Ill. – Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) hit the 15-point plateau for the fifth time in six outings this season and Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) added 14 points and seven rebounds, but Eureka dropped its second contest of the USF Classic Sunday in a 78-67 setback to NAIA Cardinal Stritch in Joliet, Ill.
Thomas and Juergens were two of four Red Devils to score in double figures. Kyle Henderson (Henry, Ill./Henry-Senachwine H.S./Elgin) tallied career-high 11 points thanks to a 9-for-9 effort at the free throw line and Drew Yonker (Normal, Ill./Normal West H.S.) netted 10 points in his first collegiate start.
Eureka led briefly in the early stages of the contest before CSU snagged a double-digit lead (28-17) on Keonte Jenkins's layup midway through the first half. The Red Devils responded with a 16-9 run to inch within 37-33 when Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) connected on his seventh career 3-pointer with 4:40 remaining in the half. The Wolves maintained a 49-38 advantage at halftime.
Two Henderson free throws at the 9:42 mark of the second period allowed the Red Devils to close the gap to 60-56, but the Wolves answered with six in a row. Eureka later held possession down six as the clock winded into the final five minutes, but the Red Devils were unable to slash their deficit to five points or less for the remainder of the game.
Sunday's game marked the first men's basketball meeting between EC and CSU since Nov. 18, 1983.
The Red Devils will begin the 18-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule this Wednesday at defending league champion Greenville. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Red Devils and Panthers split last season's home-and-home series.