Milsteadt's 50-Bomb Lifts Red Devils Over Blackburn, 95-93

Photo courtesy of Elly Maier.
Photo courtesy of Elly Maier.

EUREKA -- Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S./Illinois Central) scored 50 points Saturday, Eureka's second 50-point game in program history, leading the charge to overcome a 14-point second-half deficit and send the Red Devils to a 95-93 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Blackburn at the Reagan Athletic Complex.

Milsteadt's effort bested his previous career scoring high of 45 set at Greenville on March 19, 2021. He went 15-for-21 from the floor, 7-for-11 from 3-point range and 13-for-14 from the foul line on Saturday. He added 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.

It's the second 50-point game in program history, narrowly missing the single-game Eureka scoring record of 51 set by Milsteadt's former teammate Dakota Bennington versus Greenville on Feb. 11, 2019. Additionally, it was just the third 50-point game in NCAA Division III this season and five points off the season-high of 55 scored by John Carroll's Jackson Sartain in a 109-96 victory over Keuka (N.Y.) on Nov. 12.

While Milsteadt carried the load throughout the second half, it was Jalen Hosea (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) that saved the Red Devils in the final minute of the contest. Hosea's baseline drive and reverse layup with 12.3 seconds left pushed Eureka in front 94-93. Moments later, Hosea contributed pressure defense and rebounded Izayah Talmadge's missed layup that would have given BC the lead as the clock neared triple zero. Hosea was fouled with 0.6 seconds left and split two foul shots that set the final margin, as BC turned the ball over in the final second before being able to inbound the ball.

Milsteadt scored the Red Devils' first 10 points of the afternoon and had 18 points in the game's first six minutes as Eureka engineered a 33-20 cushion midway through the half. 

BC promptly reversed the tide, storming back to claim a 42-41 advantage on Javon Stovall's layup with just 2:12 left in the period. The Beavers led by as many as eight in the final moments of the half before Hosea's layup allowed EC to trail 51-45 at the break.

Blackburn further pressured the hosts early in the second half, pushing its lead to as large as 14 when Talmadge's 3-point play bumped BC in front 72-58 with 12:48 to go. Milsteadt answered with a 3-pointer on the next Eureka possession and the Red Devils' comeback bid was in motion.

Milsteadt scored 19 points over the next 4-minutes, 53-seconds, including a triple from the edge of the midcourt EC logo at the 8:44 mark and a pair of free throws with 8:13 to go that regained a 76-75 lead for the Red Devils.

The two squads traded the lead six more times the rest of the way and were tied as late as the 4:24 mark when BC's Dakarai White scored in the paint to knot the score at 84-84.

Hosea's heroics were needed after Chanz Aldridge's free-throw line jumper pushed BC in front 93-92 with exactly 30 seconds to play. It was Austyn Ellison (Hudson, Ill./Bloomington Central Catholic/Coe) that found a slashing Hosea along the baseline in the ensuing moments for the game-winning bucket, Ellison's eighth dime of the afternoon. The Beavers didn't score again. 

Milsteadt scored 32 points in the second half. Logan Dorethy (Hamilton, Ill./West Hancock H.S./Hannibal-LaGrange) scored 14 points and Charlie McKinty (Elmwood, Ill./Elmwood H.S./Illinois College) added 10 to give the hosts three players in double figures. Ellison distributed eight assists in 28 minutes of his second career start.

Eureka hit 11 3-pointers for the second time in four days, went 18-for-21 from the free throw line and outscored the Beavers in the paint, 42-32.

Aldridge led BC with 25 points, one of five Beavers in double figures. Blackburn shot 55 percent (33-for-60) overall.

The Red Devils now sit atop the SLIAC with a 2-0 record, their third consecutive 2-0 start to league play. Eureka has won five of its last seven versus Blackburn since Jan. 27, 2018.

Eureka will look for its fifth consecutive SLIAC victory dating back to last season on Tuesday in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off at Principia in Elsah, Ill.