Posted: Feb 02, 2018
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Eureka College men's basketball team will play its third game in three states in an eight-game stretch Saturday afternoon when the Red Devils make the 310-mile trip to Louisville, Ky. for a 2 p.m. CST St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference bout with Spalding in Derek Smith Gymnasium.
The Red Devils will continue their quest to return to the SLIAC Tournament for the first time since 2013 with a 13-7 overall record and an 8-5 SLIAC mark.
Eureka is currently locked in a three-way tie for second place in the conference standings with Westminster and Webster, trailing first-place Greenville by a single game. Eight different SLIAC teams have at least six wins, all of which remain eligible for one of the four SLIAC Tournament bids.
Eureka scores 90.3 points per game, 13th-most in the country and one of only 14 Division III teams to average at least 90. The Red Devils have hit the century mark six times this season, their most 100-point games in a single campaign since the 1993-94 NAIA Division II national championship team did it seven times.
The Red Devils are in their 40th season as a member of NCAA Division III and their 12th season as a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eureka returns three starters, all juniors, from last season's 13-win team that broke the program's single-season record for team scoring with 90.5 points per game. In all, EC returns 18 letterwinners from last season.
FEEHAN BY THE NUMBERS
Junior guard Shea Feehan scored 20 points Wednesday at Webster to reach two milestones. His single-season scoring total reached 604, just the fifth individual season in program history of at least 600 points. The Peoria, Ill native is also the first player in program history to score 600 points in multiple seasons.
Feehan, who is a five-time SLIAC Player of the Week and was named to the Bevo Francis Award Watch List last month, has hit 76 3-pointers this winter, tied for eighth-most in a season by a Red Devil since the shot was introduced to the NCAA in 1986. Additionally, his 120 free throws rank fifth on EC's single-season list in the modern era.
Feehan also increased his career scoring total to 1,532 to move in front of Hall of Famer Chris Eaton (1990-94) for fourth place on the Red Devils' all-time scoring list.
LATE FOUL SHOTS DOWN RED DEVILS AT WEBSTER WEDNESDAY
Two Davian Joseph free throws in the waning seconds of the second half proved to be the difference in Webster's 79-78 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over the Eureka College men's basketball team, Wednesday night in St. Louis, Mo.
Eureka held a one-point lead in the final minute, but sent Joseph to the foul line with 13 seconds left. Joseph made both free throws to push the Gorloks to a 79-78 advantage. The Red Devils had time to shoot for the win on its ensuing possession but couldn't deliver points before time expired.
Shea Feehan led the Red Devils with 20 points. Hank Thomas scored 15 and Dakota Bennington tallied 13. Eureka went 10-for-20 from 3-point range. Austin Juergens pulled down a team-best seven rebounds and Ryan McElmurry registered nine assists.
The Golden Eagles are in a tailspin, having dropped four consecutive league games to tumble to 8-11 overall and 6-7 in conference action. SU is two full games behind the three-way tie for second place in the standings for the final league tournament bid. Despite the recent struggles, Spalding has won five of its seven SLIAC games in Louisville this season.
Sophomore guard Dominique Ellis has started all 19 games for SU this season, leading the Golden Eagles with 15.6 points per game thanks to 53 percent shooting from the floor and 44 percent shooting from 3-point rnage. Ellis is also an 86 percent free-throw shooter. Senior forward Brandon Williams has also made 19 starts, pouring in 11.3 points per game and leading the Golden Eagles with 7.4 rebounds per contest.
The Golden Eagles score just 68.2 points per contest to rank last in the 10-team SLIAC and 369th out of 416 Division III teams. Defensively, SU allows 74.3 points per game and commits 14.8 fouls per contest, 15th-fewest in the country.
Spalding joined the SLIAC in 2009 and became eligible for the NCAA postseason in 2013 after completing the mandatory provisional period during its transition from the NAIA. The Golden Eagles have won or shared four SLIAC regular-season championships, including three straight from 2013 through 2015. The Golden Eagles have also won SLIAC Tournament crowns in 2013 and again in 2015.
THE SERIES VERSUS SPALDING
Spalding leads the all-time series, 11-7. Eureka has won four in a row over the Golden Eagles since Jan. 27, 2016, including a 77-59 rout at the Reagan Athletic Complex last month. The Red Devils also won their first-ever decision over the Golden Eagles in Louisville last season, an 87-84 win on Dec. 3, 2016 to snap a streak of eight consecutive defeats to SU in Derek Smith Gymnasium.
Eureka and Spalding have met one time in the SLIAC Tournament. The Golden Eagles won in overtime over EC in Louisville in the league's 2013 championship game, a 64-62 final.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
The owner of more than two decades of coaching experience at the collegiate level, Chip Wilde is in his 11th season as head coach at Eureka. The current campaign marks Wilde's 20th season as a collegiate basketball head coach.
Wilde has proved 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 SLIAC both on the court and in the classroom. Wilde has 130 wins at EC, third-most in the 99-year history of the program.
Longtime coaching veteran Kevin Gray is in his 20th season at Spalding. The Louisville, Ky. native, who was named SLIAC Coach of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2014, has guided the Golden Eagles to national tournament berths as members of the NAIA, USCAA and NCAA.
Prior to his arrival at Spalding, Gray earned coaching experience as an assistant on various NCAA Division I staffs, including Chattanooga, Alabama and Baylor. He is a 1976 graduate of Chattanooga and was a three-year captain for the Mocs.