EUREKA — After a close first half, the Eureka men's basketball team outscored MacMurray by 19 points in the second half en route to an 82-61 win over the Highlanders in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday.
The Red Devils put their athleticism, speed and dexterity on full display for the fans of Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.
Eureka shot 40.5 percent in the first half and led by two at the break, but the team improved to 48.7 in the second, and outrebounded the Highlanders 32-19.
The ratio was nearly reversed in the first half, with Highlanders grabbing 33 boards and EC collecting 16.
Junior transfer Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria/Illinois Central College) racked up 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, and finished the day 10-for-15 from the field with four 3-pointers, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The SLIAC's leading scorer, Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian), contributed 23 points and a team-high nine rebounds while shooting 10-for-21 from the floor and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Another senior, Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 24 solid minutes off the bench in his first game since Dec. 7.
Defensively, the Red Devils limited MacMurray big man and leading scorer Logan Dorethy to 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting with nine boards. MacMurray's Elijah Powell posted a team-high 15 points and 12 boards.
It took time for EC to pull away from the Highlanders, but layup by Kyle Henderson (Henry, Ill./Henry-Senachwine) with 13:13 left gave the Red Devils an 11-point lead at 56-45.
The Red Devils would eventually extend it to 22 with less than three minutes left on a 3-pointer by Milsteadt.
It ended up giving the Red Devils a 30-28 edge over MacMurray in the all-time series.
Eureka entered the day as one of six teams to share the lead in the SLIAC. After Fontbonne lost to Webster 78-65 on Saturday, there are now five: Eureka, Westminster, Blackburn, Greenville and Webster.
The Red Devils (8-3, 3-1 SLIAC) will next head on the road to face Iowa Wesleyan (4-7, 1-3 SLIAC) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Fontbonne (4-7, 1-3 SLIAC) at 3 p.m. on Saturday.