Preview: Red-hot Eureka to Host Emmaus Before SLIAC Tourney

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.

EUREKA — Before the Eureka men head to St. Louis for the SLIAC tournament on Friday, there's one more game to be played.

The Red Devils will host Emmaus in a regular-season finale inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena Monday at 6 p.m.

ABOUT EUREKA

You might have heard: Everything broke right for Eureka across the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Saturday, and the Red Devils are the No. 3 seed in the SLIAC tournament.

They're the only team in the league to finish the conference season with four straight wins, and with a non-conference win over Emmaus, they can inch closer to .500 on the year. For now, EC stands 11-13 and 10-8 in the SLIAC.

The Red Devils are coming off a monster week that featured a 161-153 triumph over Greenville on Monday, a worthy follow-up in the form of a 98-80 victory over MacMurray and Saturday's 110-77 senior-day rout over Iowa Wesleyan.

During that stretch, they've shot 61.1 percent from the floor, 43 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the free-throw line.

EC has seen its share of outstanding individual performances late, but on Saturday, it was Hank Thomas' chance to headline the show. The senior point guard racked up 37 points on 13-of-19 shooting, hit 9 of 12 3-pointers and distributed eight assists.

He finished the SLIAC season second in assists (133) and fourth in points per game (20.6). Junior teammate Dakota Bennington was third in scoring, averaging 23.5 points per game.

Juniors Austin Juergens and Jordan Dehm combine for 25 points per game. Dehm averages 8.5 rebounds per night– the fifth-best rate in the SLIAC – and versatile senior Alex Wiegand adds 6.5 boards per game to go with his 9.2 points.

After last week, the Red Devils are now ninth in Division III in points per game (92.5) while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor.

Eureka returns 10 letterwinners and four players that started at least five games from last season's team that went 18-8 overall and finished as the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference runner-up with a 13-5 league record. The Red Devils have nearly a dozen newcomers on the 2018-19 roster, seven of which have freshman eligibility.

ABOUT EMMAUS

Emmaus comes to Eureka with a 3-22 record.

The Eagles are coming off a win. They topped Faith Baptist College for the second time this season in a 76-67 victory on Friday. A couple weeks ago, they took down Moody Bible Institute, 87-55, and Faith Baptist Bible College, 80-67.

In Friday's win, Nacio Dillard dropped 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, knocking down 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Elijah Reeves followed with 18 points while shooting 9 of 11 from the field. They distributed eight assists apiece, and Stevie Horan added 15 points.

Horan, a senior, leads the team with 13.2 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting. Brandon Redding adds 11.1 points per game while pulling down a team-high eight boards per game.

As a team, the Eagles average 68.1 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent from the field.

RECENT HISTORY

The Eureka men have only taken on Emmaus once in program history.

On Nov. 17, 2015, the Red Devils handled the Eagles in a 100-75 victory at the Reagan Athletic Complex.

Then a freshman, Wiegand provided 11 points, reaching double figures for the third time in his first four games at the collegiate level. Fellow freshman Thomas dropped 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench. It was his first time reaching double figures for the Red Devils.

Everybody on EC's roster saw playing time in the win.

MEET THE HEAD COACHES

The owner of nearly three decades of coaching experience at the collegiate level, Chip Wilde is in his 12th season as head coach of the Eureka College men's basketball team in 2018-19. The current campaign marks Wilde's 21st season as a collegiate basketball head coach.

Wilde has proven 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 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference both on the court and in the classroom. Wilde entered the 2018-19 campaign with 135 wins, fourth-most in the century-long history of the program.

Steve Edmondson is in his first year as Emmaus' head coach and athletic director. He bring over twenty years of coaching experience at the high school and college level to the role.

FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE

Eureka will provide a live online video broadcast of Wednesday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.