SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The Eureka men's basketball team nearly pulled off one to remember on Friday night.
The Red Devils were a play away from bringing home an impressive road win over NAIA Lawrence Tech, but it didn't come together in the final seconds.
With less than 1:50 to play in the game, Eureka was down six points against the Blue Devils. Charlie McKinty (Elmwood, Ill./Elmwood) cut the lead in half with a pull-up triple from the top of the key to make it 80-77 with just over a minute to play.
Needing a stop to stay in it, Eureka's Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) poked the ball away from his man and went all the way for a transition layup.
That made it a one-point game with 44 seconds to play. The Blue Devils missed a baseline jumper on the other end and the bounced out in EC's favor, giving the Red Devils an opportunity to clinch the win in the last possession of the game.
Milsteadt received the ball on the perimeter with 13 seconds left, made a move and drove in before losing the ball in a double-team. A diving defender rolled it away and Eureka's J'Len Crawford was able to come up with it with and tossed it to McKinty outside the arc on the right side. With time ticking down, McKinty slashed to the hoop.
He got a shot up just before the buzzer, which appeared to be blocked by LTU's Gunnar Gustafson while teammate Carter Frantz went up and down on contact with McKinty. After a tense discussion, the referees ruled it a charge against McKinty and gave the ball back to the Blue Devils with a half-second to play. Not long enough for anything to add to the drama of the night. The final score read Lawrence Tech 80, Eureka 79.
Milsteadt finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the field and 4-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc while contributing six rebounds, four assists and four steals. McKinty followed with 16 points. The junior hit three 3-pointers, gathered three boards, had an assist and a steal.
Logan Dorethy (Hamilton, Ill./West Hancock) added 12 points while shooting 6 of 7 from the field and was rebound shy of a double-double. Crawford also reached double-figures, notching 10 points to go with six boards and three assists.
Jordan Brooks (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden) was productive, tallying eight points and hitting a pair of treys in 18 minutes off the bench. Also contributing off the bench were Peyton McCubbin (Clinton, Ill./Clinton), who posted five points and two rebounds; Lane Thompson (Dwight, Ill./Dwight), who had four points, two rebounds and an assist; and Austyn Ellison (Hudson, Ill./Bloomington Central Catholic), who had four assists.
Frantz scored a team-high 18 points for the Blue Devils on 7-of-15 shooting from the field while hitting four of 10 3-point attempts. Gustafson and Brandon Beavers each put up 14 points, while Andrew Rinn had 11 off the bench.
By the end of the night, the stat sheet was virtually even in most statistical categories.
Eureka slightly outshot Lawrence Tech on the night, recording a 49.2 field goal percentage to the Blue Devils' 46.3. The Blue Devils grabbed two more rebounds than EC (37-35) and scored two more points in the paint (38-36). Both teams had 19 assists.
Lawrence Tech never led by more than nine points and Eureka never led by more than seven. There were four ties and 12 lead changes.
On Saturday, Eureka (4-5) will turn around and take on another NAIA opponent in Concordia Michigan (6-7). The Red Devils will show what they can do at 6 p.m.