For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Jan. 24, 2012
Eureka Men's Basketball Weekly Notebook
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
The Eureka College men’s basketball will try to push its winning streak to five games or more for the first time since January 2010 with a pair of St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games this week.
Eureka will play its first home game in more than a week when the Red Devils host the MacMurray Highlanders in an 8 p.m. tip-off on Wednesday at the Reagan Center. The Red Devils will close the week when they go for season series sweep of Greenville on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Greenville, Ill.
Picked to finish second in the SLIAC according to a preseason coaches’ poll, MacMurray will bring an 8-8 overall record and 5-3 SLIAC mark into Wednesday’s clash at the Reagan Center.
The Highlanders have won their last two conference games on the road and erased a double-digit halftime deficit to beat Blackburn last Saturday in Carlinville.
Sophomore forward Brady Slagle, who sat out last season after winning the SLIAC Newcomer of the Year award as a freshman in 2010, leads a balanced MC lineup with 11.1 points per game.
MacMurray has played a challenging schedule this season, playing non-conference contests against traditional Division III powers Washington (Mo.), Illinois Wesleyan and Augustana. MacMurray also traveled to New Orleans, La. in early December to play games against Division I opponents Southern and Tulane.
Todd Creal is in his fifth season as head coach and shared the 2010 SLIAC Coach of the Year award. The Brighton, Ill. native played Division III basketball at Illinois College and previously owned coaching experience in Division III as an assistant at IC, Augustana and Millikin.
RENEWING A BALANCED RIVALRY
Wednesday’s game marks the 13th time Eureka and MacMurray have met on the basketball court since the Red Devils joined the SLIAC prior to the 2006-07 season. The series is tied, 6-6, but MacMurray has won two in a row and four out of five overall at the Reagan Center.
The two squads have met in the SLIAC Tournament semifinals twice (2007, 2010), with Eureka winning each contest.
The Red Devils will return to the road this Saturday when EC takes its annual SLIAC road trip to Greenville. The Panthers enter the week with an 8-7 overall record and a 3-4 SLIAC mark.
The Panthers won five straight games during a 10-day stretch earlier this month to bump its season record over the .500 mark, but have most recently dropped back-to-back SLIAC contests to Webster and Spalding. Greenville will visit Blackburn Tuesday at 8 p.m. before hosting Eureka on Saturday.
Senior Markeith Brown has played in 14 games this season averages 13.9 points per game, one of four Panthers to have started at least one game and average at least nine points per contest. Greenville does a good portion of its damage from the free throw line and leads the SLIAC in free throws made (17.1), attempts (22.4) and percentage (.765).
Dr. George Barber is in his 13th season as head coach of the Panthers, the second-longest tenure of any SLIAC men’s basketball head coach. Prior to Greenville, Barber served on Division I staffs as an assistant coach at Bradley and an administrative assistant at Kentucky where he was a member of Rick Pitino’s 1996 national championship staff.
ANOTHER BALANCED SERIES
Like its all-time SLIAC series against MacMurray, Eureka has played an evenly matched series against Greenville.
The Panthers own a 6-5 edge in SLIAC games played against Eureka. Greenville has been especially tough on the Red Devils in Greenville, as GC has won four in a row against Eureka and four out of five overall since 2007.
Eureka already owns a victory over the Panthers this season, claiming a 101-90 overtime triumph at the Reagan Center on Nov. 30.
TWO ROAD WINS
Eureka pushed its winning streak to four games with a pair of SLIAC road wins last week. The Red Devils topped Blackburn on Wednesday, 84-62, before romping to an 88-55 victory to complete a season series sweep of Principia on Saturday.
Saturday’s 23-point lead at Principia was Eureka’s largest halftime advantage in five seasons under head coach Chip Wilde.
LESSEN GRABS TWO WEEKLY AWARDS
Junior center Mark Lessen has been named the SLIAC Player of the Week and a member of D3Hoops.com national Team of the Week, according to announcements on Monday night. Lessen averaged 26.7 points and 12.7 rebounds in three SLIAC wins last week. The D3Hoops.com honor for Lessen was the first for a Red Devil since Kameron Bell received the award in January 2010.
The big man from Delavan, Ill. set new career-highs with 34 points and 18 rebounds at Blackburn last Wednesday. For the week, Lessen shot 73 percent (33-for-45) from the field and 70 percent (14-for-20) from the free throw line. He added nine blocks, seven steals and three assists. His season block total has climbed to 40 in Eureka’s first 17 games to rank first in the SLIAC, while his average of 2.4 blocked shots per game ranks tied for 17th in Division III. Lessen’s season field goal percentage of .616 ranks 23rd nationally.
KINDRED STANDS ALONE IN NINTH
Junior guard Jordan Kindred’s first assist in Eureka’s victory at Blackburn gave him sole possession of ninth place on the all-time program list with 271 career assists.
Kindred needs 23 assists to reach Rick Taylor (1983-87) for eighth place all-time and 30 more assists to tie Mike Sain’s total of 121 in 1980-81 for 10th place on Eureka’s single-season list.
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