WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. – The Eureka men's basketball team came up short in its bid to sweep the top team in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Wednesday.
Instead, Webster topped the Red Devils 88-79 and clinched the outright SLIAC title on its home floor of Grant Gymnasium.
Eureka's Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) dropped a career-high 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range in a losing effort for the Red Devils. He scored 17 points off the bench during the first half, and at one point, hit three straight 3-pointers in 72 seconds.
Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora) added 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, while Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) and Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) notched 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Jalen Hosea (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) contributed nine points, all in the first half.
After trailing by 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game, Eureka rallied back with a 16-2 run that put the Red Devils up 26-22 with 7:03 remaining in the first half.
By halftime, the Red Devils had extended the lead to 10 points, holding a 46-36 advantage.
Webster erased the lead in the first seven minutes of the second half, and regained it with a layup by Rodson Etienne with 11:20 remaining.
The Gorloks extended the lead to as many as eight, but a Dehm 3-pointer put EC within two with 6:40 left at 70-68.
Bennington then stole the ball from Jordan Clay, but threw it away to Josh Johnson, and Clay ended up drilling a 3 to extend the lead to five with 6:15 left.
A Clay jumper over a minute later made it seven, and after EC made 3 of 4 free-throw attempts, another Clay triple gave Webster a nine-point lead with less than four minutes to play.
The maroon and gold never came within fewer than five the rest of the way.
The Gorloks shot 50.8 percent from the floor to Eureka's 37.8, and outscored the Red Devils 28-18 in the paint.
Eureka beat Webster 33-24 in points from the bench, committed one fewer turnover (9-10) and only had one fewer rebound (41-42), but the visitors couldn't bridge the gaps in shooting and on defense.
With the loss and Blackburn's 133-129 win over Greenville, the Red Devils (15-9, 10-7 SLIAC) fell to fifth in the SLIAC standings.
There's only one day of games left in the regular season, and the maroon and gold has to find a way to reach the top four by the end of Saturday to make the SLIAC Tournament.
Eureka will host second-place Greenville (13-11, 12-5 SLIAC) on Saturday inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena at 3 p.m. It needs to win and get a loss from either Fontbonne or Blackburn to clinch.