For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Jan. 20, 2011
Red Devils Rally For 74-71 Win Over Lincoln Christian
EUREKA, Ill. – A layup by Eureka College sophomore center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) with 1:19 remaining gave the Red Devils a one-point advantage on the eighth lead change of the game in the Red Devils’ 74-71 non-conference victory over Lincoln Christian in front of a wild Reagan Center crowd, Thursday night. Eureka senior Josh Wagner (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S./Carl Sandburg) scored a career-high 25 points and added 12 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.
Trailing 71-70, Wagner found Lessen inside for the final field goal of the game and a 72-71 Eureka lead with 1:19 remaining. Lincoln Christian turned the ball over on its next two possessions, one coming on a steal by Eureka sophomore Jordan Fehr (Roanoke, Ill./Roanoke-Benson H.S.), before having to foul Eureka sophomore Blake Chapman (Serena, Ill./Serena H.S.) with 24 seconds remaining. Chapman made both foul shots to give the Red Devils to a 74-71 lead.
LCU’s Chris Lawson missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession that would have tied the game with 13 seconds remaining before Wagner collected the rebound and was fouled. Wagner missed both free throws around a Lincoln Christian timeout with nine seconds left, but a potential game-tying 3-pointer from Brady Cremeens rattled in and out as the final seconds ticked away, giving the Red Devils their first victory of the campaign.
Eureka controlled the contest in the opening minutes, sprinting to an 8-2 lead behind six points from Wagner. The Red Lions closed the gap and eventually took their first lead of the contest on Kyle Rust’s free throws with 12:37 left for an 11-9 lead. The two squads traded the lead three more times before Eureka senior Cody Myers (Ipava, Ill./V.I.T. H.S.) broke the seventh tie of the half and scored in the paint with five seconds left before halftime for a 39-37 lead at intermission.
A 3-point play by Wagner with 17:39 left in regulation capped a 7-0 Eureka run to open the second half. Just like the first half, the Red Lions kept the deficit manageable and forced the eighth tie of the game on Chris Lawson’s jumper for a 51-51 tie with 13:47 left. The visitors eventually regained the lead on a layup by Sam Ernst and stretched their lead to four points, 58-54, on a 3-pointer by Cremeens with 11:12 left. Eureka scored the next four points and tied the game for the ninth time when Lessen picked the LCU passing lane at the top of the key for his only steal of the game, followed by a breakaway one-handed slam for a 58-58 tie with 9:28 left.
Eureka regained the lead, 70-69, on Wagner’s basket with 3:32 left, the first advantage for the Red Devils in nearly nine minutes. Lawson answered with a layup for LCU’s final lead, 71-70, but Eureka held the Red Lions scoreless for the final 3:16 of the game before Lessen and Chapman scored the final four points of the game in the final 79 seconds. In all, the game featured 10 ties and eight lead changes.
Wagner’s 25 points topped his previous career-high of 18 points set at Fontbonne earlier this month. Lessen finished with 10 points and five boards, while Chapman matched a career-high with six assists. Eureka finished the game with 21 assists, its highest total of the season the most assists since dishing out 26 assists at Greenville on Feb. 23, 2010. The Red Devils shot 50.9 percent from the field (29-for-57), just the third game this season Eureka has shot 50 percent or better from the floor.
Lawson scored 21 points in a losing effort for Lincoln Christian. Cremeens (16 points) and Rust (12 points) also hit double-figures for the Red Lions.
The Red Devils will return to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action this Saturday, visiting Blackburn for a 3 p.m. tip-off in Carlinville, Ill.
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