For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Jan. 4, 2011
Eureka Falls Just Short at Fontbonne, 59-57
CLAYTON, Mo. – Eureka College senior forward Josh Wagner (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S./Carl Sandburg) led all players with 18 points and 13 rebounds, but the Red Devils’ final shot in the lane hit the back of the rim as time expired, allowing Fontbonne to escape with a 59-57 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over the Red Devils, Tuesday night at Mabee Gymnasium in Clayton, Mo.
Facing a 55-43 deficit with just 6:18 left to play, Eureka put together a furious rally to give itself a chance to win the game. A steal and an ensuing basket by sophomore guard Jordan Fehr (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.) with 5:41 left ignited a 14-3 surge by the Red Devils. Junior guard Austin Nicholas (Brownsburg, Ind./Manitou Springs H.S./Lamar) eventually capped the run when he split a pair of foul shots to bring the Red Devils within a point, 58-57, with 1:06 remaining.
After Fontbonne’s Erich Hamilton made one of two free throws with 41 seconds left for a 59-57 lead, Eureka’s bid for their first of advantage of the game on a 3-point basket from the corner was short with 15 seconds left. Another foul with 10 seconds left sent Jarrett Buford to the line, but Buford missed both foul shots to give the Red Devils one final chance with no timeouts remaining. The Red Devils scrambled up the floor after a rebound by Wagner and eventually got a good look at the goal as time expired, but Wagner’s running leaner in the paint struck the back of the iron and bounced away to allow the hosts to hang on for a 59-57 win.
The Eureka defense was solid during the comeback, holding the Griffins without a field goal for the final 6:56 of regulation. Nicholas recorded all three of his steals during the stretch and Fehr added two more of his own following his first theft to start the Eureka rally.
Fontbonne took advantage of Eureka’s cold shooting to open the game, building a 16-6 lead before Eureka trimmed its deficit to six points at halftime, 32-26. Wagner was one rebound short of a double-double after just 20 minutes. He scored six of those points during a 20-14 Eureka burst midway through the first half.
Nicholas earned his first career start and responded accordingly, pouring in a career-high 14 points in 32 minutes played, the second straight game he’s scored in double-figures. Fehr also recorded a new career-best, scoring seven points and knocking down his second career 3-point basket with 12:45 left in the game.
Three players scored in double-figures for the Griffins, led by 14 points from Saliou Dioum. He also grabbed 11 boards for Fontbonne’s lone double-double.
The Red Devils will close their six-game road trip this Thursday at SLIAC foe Greenville at 8 p.m. Eureka and Greenville split their season series last year.
NOTES: Fontbonne head coach Dr. Lee McKinney was inducted into the SLIAC Hall of Fame during a ceremony with SLIAC Commissioner Will Wolper prior to the game ... McKinney served 23 years as Fontbonne's Director of Athletics prior to his retirement as an administrator last summer ... During his tenure, the Fontbonne athletics department grew from three to 19 teams, with the number of student-athletes jumping from 35 to the current 350 ... He was instrumental in Fontbonne's membership into the NCAA and establishing the Griffins as a founding member of the SLIAC in 1989.
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