Spalding Staves Off Second-Half Eureka Rally, 88-80

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.Hank Thomas (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) scored 17 points to lead a group of four Eureka starters in double figures and Alex Wiegand (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) collected a game-high 10 rebounds, but a big second-half rally couldn't erase an early deficit in the Red Devils' 88-80 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference defeat at Spalding, Saturday afternoon at Columbia Gym in Louisville, Ky.

Thomas was joined by Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.) with 15 points, Jordan Dehm (Metamora, Ill./Metamora H.S.) with 13 points and Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian H.S./Olivet Nazarene) with 12.

The Red Devils played catchup for much of Saturday's contest. SU notched a 25-15 lead with 7:09 left before halftime. The Golden Eagles' 11-point lead at at the break (39-28) equaled their biggest advantage of the first 20 minutes.

The hosts extended their cushion to 51-36 less than five minutes into the second period, but Eureka punched back. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Jalen Hosea (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) and Drew Yonker (Normal, Ill./Normal West H.S.) and a layup by Kyle Henderson (Henry, Ill./Henry-Senachwine H.S./Elgin) put the exclamation point on a 12-0 burst and the game was tied, 56-56, with 10:08 left.

The Golden Eagles answered with points on two of their next three possessions to extend their lead back to 61-56. Yonker hit another triple with 8:07 left, but it would be the final time the Red Devils would be within a possession of SU in the final eight minutes.

Eureka will aim to get into the SLIAC win column next Saturday in a 3 p.m. league start against Westminster at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.