Red Devils Regain First-Place Share in 95-59 Rout at Westminster

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

FULTON, Mo. – Eureka College sophomore guard Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) pumped in a career-high 25 points off the bench and junior Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) tacked on 22 to move into ninth place on the program's all-time scoring list, paving the way for the Red Devils to reclaim a share of first place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings in Wednesday's 95-59 league romp over Westminster in Fulton, Mo.

The Red Devils improved to 5-2 in the SLIAC and jumped into a three-way tie atop the league standings with Westminster and Greenville. Wednesday's 36-point win was EC's largest over the Blue Jays in 26 meetings as SLIAC rivals, as well as its widest margin of victory in the series since a 100-50 non-conference triumph at the old Reagan Center on Feb. 13, 1994.

The visitors scored the game's first six points and never looked back. The Blue Jays forced three tied scores as late as 15-15 at the 11:32 mark of the first half, but Eureka answered with an Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) jumper and led the rest of the way. Eureka's first-half lead swelled to 12 on Feehan's triple for a 36-24 cushion with 5:10 to go before the break. WC recovered to trail by only six, 44-38, at intermission.

Westminster hung around for the first few minutes of the second half before Wiegand's baseline dunk triggered a dominant stretch from EC over the game's final 16 minutes. Two Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) foul shots capped the Red Devils' 10-0 run for a 60-46 cushion. The EC advantage reached 20 when Feehan scored for a 68-48 lead. In all, Eureka closed the contest on a 45-13 barrage.

Bennington produced his most efficient outing in a Red Devil uniform, going 8-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line for 25 points in just 18 minutes. Feehan tacked on 22 points and now has 1,322 for his three-year career to move in front of Bob Strickland (1954-58) for ninth place on the Red Devils' career scoring list. Feehan also hit a pair of 3-pointers Wednesday to tie Brady Wildenradt (2005-09) and Troy Tyler (1990-94) for fifth place on the program's all-time list with 164.

The Red Devils shot 59 percent as a team. Wiegand and Thomas also reached double figures for Eureka with 12 points apiece. The Red Devils did much of their damage at the free throw line, delivering a 26-for-30 team effort. Wiegand also corralled eight rebounds to help the Red Devils enjoy a 38-30 advantage on the boards. Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) didn't score but equaled a personal best with seven rebounds and didn't commit a turnover in 24 minutes directing the EC offense. A total of 13 Red Devils saw minutes in the victory, 11 of which made a field goal.

Steven Brandt scored 16 points to pace Westminster, which lost at home for the first time in seven outings this season and had won eight in a row in Fulton since Feb. 4, 2017.

The Red Devils will be back home Saturday for a 3 p.m. start against SLIAC rival Iowa Wesleyan at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.