Red Devils Cruise Past Principia, 96-70

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

EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College senior guard Brady Sanders (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Illinois Wesleyan) scored a career-high 19 points, senior Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) hit five 3-pointers and sophomore Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) finished with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, helping the Red Devils keep pace in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference race with a 96-70 league rout of Principia, Tuesday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

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The Red Devils (15-7, 10-5 SLIAC) never trailed Tuesday and roared to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes on buckets from four different players. The lead reached 10 on McElmurry's trey at 15:44, but the visitors rallied for an 18-18 deadlock with 11:25 to go before halftime.

The score was tied as late as the 5:45 mark of the period before a Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) basket ignited EC's 19-4 run to end the half. Eureka hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the final 62 seconds, including back-to-back treys from Dehm to allow the Red Devils to lead 46-31 at halftime.

Eureka kept a comfortable lead throughout the second half and grabbed a 20-point cushion, 65-45, on a Sanders lay-in with 14:01 left. The visitors regrouped to narrow the gap to 11 in the final seven minutes, but Dehm responded with a 3 and the Red Devils built the lead back to as many as 27 in the final minute.

Sanders was 6-for-8 from the field and 7-for-9 at the line. He grabbed seven rebounds, distributed three assists and didn't commit a turnover in 29 minutes. McElmurry poured in 17 points and was 5-for-7 from long range. Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) chipped in 16 points and nine boards and Dehm delivered the contest's only double-double, his second in a row.

The Red Devils connected from the field at a 51 percent clip, made 10 3-pointers, combined for a 20-for-24 effort at the foul line and outscored PC in bench points, 27-8.

Micah Paulson led all scorers with 21 points for the Panthers (8-13, 7-8 SLIAC). 

Eureka, which currently trails league-leading Greenville by a half game in the SLIAC standings, will play again at home Saturday in a 3 p.m. matchup with Westminster.