Eureka Overpowers Westminster, 91-59, Clinches SLIAC Tourney Bid

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

EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College sophomores Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) and Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) each put up double-doubles, two of six Red Devils to score in double figures in EC's 91-59 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rout of Westminster, Saturday afternoon at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

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The victory secured a SLIAC Tournament berth for the Red Devils (16-7, 11-5 SLIAC), their first since 2013. EC will enter the final week of the regular season in sole possession of second place in the league standings, one game behind defending champion Greenville (12-4).

The visitors jumped to a slim 19-15 lead Saturday near the midway point of the first half. The Red Devils answered with a dominant 16-0 blitz, snagging the lead on Dehm's 3-pointer and ending the surge on a Brady Sanders (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Illinois Wesleyan) free throw for a 31-19 lead with 6:29 to go before halftime. A Sanders interior bucket stretched the lead to 34-21 before the hosts led 42-31 at the break.

Westminster clawed within five, 46-41, when Stu Hollandsworth finished a 3-point play at the 16:18 mark of the second period. The Red Devils regained the double-digit cushion on Dehm's jumper, 52-41, part of a 15-1 EC run in which the Blue Jays were held without a field goal for nearly six minutes. Eureka's advantage reached 35 in the final minute.

Bennington led all scorers with 17 points and hauled down a career-high 17 boards. Dehm tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds. Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) poured in 16 points, Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) scored 12 off the bench and Sanders and Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) finished with 11 apiece.

Eureka overwhelmed the Blue Jays on the glass, 57-33, and outscored WC in the paint, 38-26.

Kobe Wands led the visitors with 14 points. Hollandsworth tacked on 13 points and a team-high six rebounds. The Blue Jays shot just 28 percent from the field and missed 24 3-pointers.

The Red Devils will take their final road trip of the regular season on Wednesday, an 8 p.m. tip-off at Iowa Wesleyan in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.