Eureka Rides Big Second Half to 76-66 Win at Blackburn

File photo.
File photo.

CARLINVILLE, Ill. – The Eureka men's basketball team got exactly what it came for at Blackburn on Tuesday: a strong road win that put the Red Devils in the top two in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings.

The Red Devils built a 23-point lead in the second half and withstood a late Beavers rally to snag a 76-66 win – and secure Eureka's first season sweep of Blackburn since the 2015-16 season.

The win moved Eureka to 10-9 on the season and 6-2 in SLIAC play. It's the second time in the last five seasons that the team has gone 6-2 through eight SLIAC contests.

The Red Devils leaned heavily on their starting five in the win, with all five playing over 30 minutes and four of the five reaching double figures.

Junior center Logan Dorethy (Hamilton, Ill./West Hancock/Hannibal LaGrange) finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting while adding six rebounds and three assists.

Ian Milsteadt (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria, Illinois Central College) returned to the lineup after being sidelined a game and notched 20 points. The senior guard, who dropped 50 points the last time EC and Blackburn squared off, shot 7-for-13 from the field, gathered a team-high eight rebounds and dished four assists. He also knocked down four of the Red Devils' 10 made 3-pointers on the night.

Fellow senior J'Len Crawford (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) contributed 13 points, six boards, five assists and two steals while going 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-5 from behind the arc.

Junior Charlie McKinty (Elmwood, Ill./Elmwood/Illinois College) added 10 points, six boards, a pair of triples and an assist.

Senior point guard Jalen Hosea (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) distributed a game-high six assists to go with six rebounds and five points.

The Red Devils got off to a good start, knocking down three 3-pointers while jumping out to an 11-2 lead. However, Blackburn chipped away and worked its way back in the game. By halftime, the Beavers had a one-point advantage.

When play resumed, though, the visitors took over, dominating the better part of the second half. Eureka outscored the Beavers 27-6 in the first 13:13 of the half. The lead peaked at 23 points when a layup by McKinty made it 64-41.

To the home team's credit, the Beavers battled back in the final six minutes. Blackburn ripped off an 8-0 run that made it a 14-point game with 4:02 remaining and trimmed it down to 10 by the end of the game.

The Red Devils' play was too high for too long, however, for the Beavers to crack into single digits down the stretch.

Eureka shot 64 percent from the field in the second half and 50 percent from distance. The Red Devils registered 22 assists to Blackburn's 12, outrebounded the home team by one (42-41), and beat the Beavers in the paint, 32-26.

Eureka's rescheduled game at Principia on Thursday has been postponed due to inclement weather. A makeup date is yet to be determined.

As of now, the Red Devils (10-9, 6-2 SLIAC) are scheduled to next host Spalding (6-14, 4-4 SLIAC) on Saturday at 3 p.m.