CARLINVILLE, Ill. – All five Eureka starters scored in double figures, including identical 17-point, 5-rebound efforts from Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) and Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.), allowing the Red Devils to secure their first St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win in a 76-73 decision at Blackburn, Saturday afternoon at Dawes Gymnasium in Carlinville, Ill.
Both Bennington and Dehm finished 7-for-15 from the floor. Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) and Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) each followed with 12 points and Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) tacked on 11 points and a game-high five assists. Wiegand blocked three shots.
Blackburn scored the first six points of the game and doubled up the visitors 14-7 at the 14:33 mark of the first half, but Eureka dominated the remainder of the period. A Dehm layup capped a quick 8-0 EC run that resulted in the Red Devils' first lead, 15-14. Bennington's basket at the 10:14 mark of the first half gave EC the lead for good and also sparked a 9-0 burst that ended with another Bennington field goal and a 29-21 advantage for the Red Devils.
Eureka's lead ballooned to 47-34 on Dehm's trey with 1:01 to play before halftime. Eureka, which ultimately closed the half by outscoring Blackburn 40-22, led 47-36 at the break.
The hosts kept their deficit within single digits for much of the second half. Jamaya Wyatt's putback with 8:06 remaining inched the Beavers within 66-63, but Wiegand answered with an interior bucket on the ensuing possession and the Red Devils promptly pushed the lead back to nine.
Blackburn's Bryson Kirby hit a 3-pointer with 42 second left in the game to bring the Beavers back within 76-73. Eureka wouldn't score again, but an offensive rebound extended its final possession and allowed the Red Devils to waste all but one second remaining on the clock. BC's desperation heave to tie the game as time expired was off the mark.
Eureka will bring the 2018 portion of its schedule to a close Wednesday in a 3 p.m exhibition at NCAA Division II McKendree in Lebanon, Ill. The Red Devils' next regular-season game is slated for Wednesday, Jan. 2 at Webster at 7:30 p.m.