Blackburn Ousts Eureka From SLIAC Tournament, 86-80

Blackburn Ousts Eureka From SLIAC Tournament, 86-80

GREENVILLE, Ill. -- Eureka College junior guard Shea Feehan (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) scored 27 points to break EC's single-season scoring record and junior Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) tallied 12 points to become the 24th player in program history reach 1,000, but third-seeded Blackburn withstood EC's last-second 3-pointer in regulation and ultimately earned an 86-80 overtime victory over the second-seeded Red Devils in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal, Thursday night in Greenville, Ill.

Blackburn's 9-4 lead within the first five minutes of the night proved to be the largest lead for either squad of the first 20 minutes. The lead changed hands 11 times in the first half. The Red Devils claimed their biggest lead of the frame when Brady Sanders (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S./Illinois Wesleyan) pushed down two foul shots for a 35-31 cushion at the 2:33 mark, but the Beavers scored eight of the next nine points to take a 39-36 lead into the locker room.

A Malcolm Scott lay-in pushed BC's lead to five just 12 seconds into the second half, but the Red Devils punched back to regain a 49-47 cushion when Ryan McElmurry (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Black Hawk) scored inside at the 15:35 mark. Eureka later scored five in a row on field goals from by Thomas and Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) to lead 54-50. Neither squad scored on the next 10 possessions until Savion Smith's layup triggered a run of five consecutive BC points.

The Beavers pushed their lead back to five when Bryson Kirby hit a 3 for a 71-66 lead at the 2:49 mark. Feehan promptly answered with a triple of his own and Eureka later inched within a point, 71-70, on another Feehan foul shot in the final minute.

Down one, Eureka was unable to convert a pair of shot attempts to take the lead in the closing seconds. Scott kept the pressure on the Red Devils and made two free throws to extend Blackburn's lead to 73-70 with eight seconds left. McElmurry ultimately answered the bell for EC, burying a right-wing 3 with three seconds to go to force a 73-73 tie and an overtime period.

Eureka led for just 18 seconds in the extra frame. Trailing 80-77 in the final minute, Feehan pulled EC even at 80-80 with a 3-pointer, but EC wouldn't score again. Karson Hayes answered for the Beavers with a trey of his own just 21 seconds later for an 83-80 advantage. The Red Devils were unable to respond, missing their final three shots attempts as BC made three of its final four free-throw tries.

Feehan ended his season with 673 points, breaking Chris Peterson's previous Eureka record of 653 set in 1993-94. Thomas finished the night with 1,004 career points to join Feehan in EC's 1,000-point club.

Eureka's season ends with an 18-8 record. The 18 wins equaled the Red Devils' largest season total since the 1993-94 campaign.