For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Nov. 26, 2011
Eureka Comeback Stopped at Central, 59-56
PELLA, Iowa – Eureka College junior forward Dustin Fritsch (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) scored 20 points to lead the Eureka offense for the third time in his first four games as a Red Devil, but Eureka’s second-half rally fell short in the final minute of Saturday’s non-conference defeat at Central, 59-56, at Kuyper Gym in Pella, Iowa.
The two squads played a tight first half that featured a pair of ties and four lead changes. The Red Devils (1-3) took their first advantage of the afternoon after a steal and 3-pointer from Fritsch pushed the visitors in front, 14-11, with 10:55 left before halftime.
The Dutch (3-1) regained the lead less than four minutes later, 18-16, on two free throws from Brock Caves. Central would lead be as many as seven points in the first half, but the Red Devils closed the half on a 7-3 run to trail 29-25 at halftime. Fritsch, Rian Nailor (Rock Falls, Ill./Rock Falls H.S./Sauk Valley) and reserve Jordan Fehr (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.) scored five points apiece to pace the offense in first 20 minutes.
Eureka started the second half on a high note behind back-to-back layups from junior center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) to force a 29-29 deadlock. Following the fourth consecutive defensive stop to start the half, the Red Devils regained a 32-29 lead on Fritsch’s triple with 16:58 remaining. The basket gave Eureka its final lead of the game, as the hosts responded with five unanswered points and took the lead for good, 34-32, on Matt Greenfield’s layup with 14:10 left.
Central stretched its lead to as many as night points, 53-44, as the game winded down with 5:22 remaining. Eureka refused to go away, however, clawing within a single possession on three different occasions and holding the Dutch without a field goal for the final 4:42 of the contest. After a Central turnover with 20 seconds remaining, Eureka had a chance to tie the game, but a missed free throw with 11 seconds remaining kept the Dutch in front, 57-56.
Eureka was forced to foul Caves in the closing seconds. He made two free throws to give the Dutch a 59-56 lead. With the final seconds ticking away, Nailor’s heave from beyond half court hit the rim and bounced away as time expired, giving Central the 59-56 victory.
In addition to his 20 points, Fritsch pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Lessen chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Caves scored 18 points and collected 10 rebounds for the Dutch, both totals being game-highs. He also picked up four of Central’s 13 steals for the game.
The Red Devils will now turn their attention to the 16-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule, hosting Greenville this Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Reagan Center.
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