For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Feb. 5, 2011
Red Devils Put Away Fontbonne, 84-76
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College senior forward Josh Wagner (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S./Carl Sandburg) scored 18 points and gathered 15 rebounds and sophomore guard Jake Kuenzl (Fairview, Ill./Spoon River Valley H.S.) made seven of his game-high nine free throws in the final 57 seconds, lifting the Red Devils to an 84-76 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Fontbonne, Saturday at the Reagan Center.
Eureka (2, 17, 1-10 SLIAC) pushed in front on the seventh and final lead change of the afternoon on Wagner’s layup with 4:25 remaining for a 66-65 advantage. Wagner converted a 3-point play 67 seconds later to cap an 8-0 Eureka burst and put the Red Devils in front, 72-65. The Red Devils led by as many as eight points before Fontbonne closed the gap back to a single possession, 76-73, on Jarrett Buford’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left.
Following a pair of foul shots from Kuenzl, Buford connected again from long range to pull the Griffins (5-13, 4-6 SLIAC) within two, 78-76, with 29 seconds remaining. Kuenzl was promptly fouled and sank both free throws and the Griffins wouldn’t score again. Sophomore center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) added two free throws with 14 seconds left and Kuenzl hit two more with six seconds remaining to help the Red Devils close the game on a 20-9 run and earn their first SLIAC win of the season.
The first half featured six ties and two lead changes and Fontbonne’s 21-15 lead midway through the first 20 minutes was the largest advantage of the half. Facing that deficit, Eureka outscored the visitors 19-13 in the final 7-minutes, 37-seconds of the half to force a 34-34 halftime tie. Wagner and Lessen paced the Red Devils in the first half with eight points apiece.
Eureka scored the first six points of the second half and eventually pushed its lead to eight points (44-36) on Wagner’s transition layup with 15:41 remaining in regulation. Fontbonne countered with a 17-9 run to force the seventh tie of the game, 53-53, with 11:05 left. The Griffins took their first lead since the final minute of the first half when Erich Hamilton scored for a 58-56 lead with 8:34 remaining. The Red Devils answered with eight unanswered points, highlighted by a steal and breakaway lay-in by sophomore guard Jordan Fehr (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.). Fontbonne’s Saliu Dioum gave the Griffins their final lead of the game with 4:42 left before Eureka closed the game on its 20-9 run.
Five Red Devils scored in double-figures, including reserves Kuenzl, Fehr and Austin Nicholas (Brownsburg, Ind./Manitou Springs H.S./Lamar). Wagner’s double-double was the fifth of his career and second against the Griffins this season. Lessen added 14 points, eight rebounds and swatted a career-high four blocked shots. Eureka scored 50 points in the second half, the most points in a single half by a Eureka team since pouring in 52 points in the second half of a SLIAC Tournament win over MacMurray on Feb. 25, 2010.
Dioum played the full 40 minutes for the Griffins and led all scorers with 31 points on 13-for-23 shooting. Hamilton chipped in with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Red Devils will play their final non-conference game of the season this Wednesday when they visit Lincoln Christian for a 7 p.m. tip-off in Lincoln, Ill. Eureka downed the Red Lions last month at the Reagan Center, 74-71.
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