Red Devils Bounce Fontbonne in Regular-Season Finale, 93-76

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

EUREKA, Ill. -- Eureka College junior guard Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) logged a game-high 27 points, Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) followed with 25 and the Red Devils rolled to a 93-76 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Fontbonne, Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

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Eureka (18-7, 13-5 SLIAC) will be the second seed in next week's SLIAC Tournament in Greenville, Ill. The Red Devils will play third-seeded Blackburn in Thursday's 6 p.m. semifinal. Greenville defeated Webster 134-113 Saturday to clinch the outright regular-season championship and the right to host the four-team tournament. The Panthers will play fourth-seeded Westminster in the 8 p.m. semifinal and the two Thursday winners will play Saturday at 1 p.m. for the title in Greenville.

The Red Devils opened Saturday's bout with six consecutive points to earn their second consecutive league victory in which they never trailed. Two Feehan foul shots pushed the lead to double digits, 20-9, part of a 10-0 EC blitz midway through the first half. Eureka's advantage swelled to as many as 33 points in the first half and the Red Devils led 52-23 at the break.

The 29-point halftime advantage was the largest of Chip Wilde's 11-season tenure. All 22 Red Devils saw the floor in the second half, nine of which scored.

Thomas was 10-for-15 from the field and tied a career high with six assists. Feehan upped his season scoring total to 646 and will need eight points in Thursday's SLIAC Tournament semifinal to break the program's single-season scoring record. Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) poured in 14 points and gathered a game-high nine rebounds. Eureka hit 11 3-pointers and went 14-for-16 at the free throw line.

Five members of Eureka's senior class made up Saturday's starting lineup. Chet Griffith (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) earned his first collegiate start and drew a pair of charges at the defensive end.

Tristan Baker came off the bench to lead the Griffins (5-20, 3-15 SLIAC) with 21 points.

Eureka's 18 overall victories are its most prior to a season-ending conference tournament since the 1993-94 Red Devils went 21-4 before winning the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament en route to the NAIA Division II national title. The Red Devils also won 13 league contests this season, their most since joining the SLIAC in 2006.