Red Devils Hold off Dominican, 93-80

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

EUREKA — The Eureka men's basketball team improved to 4-1 with a 93-80 victory over Dominican on its home floor Tuesday night.

The Red Devils shot 48.3 percent from the field and led by as many as 19 in the non-conference win at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.

Senior Dakota Bennington (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Christian) racked up a game-high 26 points on 6-for-12 shooting while going 14-for-14 at the free throw line. Classmate Austin Juergens (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) followed with 25 on 8-of-14 shooting while hitting three of the Red Devils' 5 3-pointers on the night.

Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) and J'Len Crawford  (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) each added 12 points, while Jaedon Banks (Peoria, Ill./Peoria Heights) pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.

Bennington and Crawford each gathered seven boards. Crawford notched career highs in both points (12) and rebounds (7).

As a team, EC made 30-of-36 free throws, won the rebounding battle 45-39 and notched 16 second-chance points to the Stars' 13. Still Dominican managed to hang around and keep the game within reach for most of the game.

The Red Devils stretched the lead to 14 points after a pair of Bennington free throws with 3:14 left in the first half, but the visitors brought it within single digits at halftime. EC held a 45-36 lead at the break.

Eureka threatened to run away with it in the first half five minutes of the half, but a timely seven-point swing for Dominican kept the Stars in the game. And, after EC stretched it to 18 with 5:24 left following a Banks jumper, Dominican nearly whittled it back down to single digits.

Dominican's Tyler Guest notched a team-high 18 points for the Stars. Jackson Smith and KJ Redfield added 16 and 14 off the bench, respectively.

On Friday, Eureka (4-1) will take on Division I New Orleans (1-4) in a noon exhibition inside The Big Easy's Lakefront Arena.