For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Feb. 1, 2012
Red Devils Run Past Blackburn, 88-59
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College men’s basketball team used a 14-0 blitz midway through the first half Wednesday night versus Blackburn, turning a slim advantage into a double-digit lead that would hold up for the remainder of the game in the Red Devils’ 88-59 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over the Beavers. Eureka junior center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) compiled game-highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Red Devils.
Eureka (12-8, 9-3 SLIAC) and Blackburn (5-15, 2-9 SLIAC) played to five lead changes and four ties in the early-going before the Red Devils took the lead for good, 20-17, when junior guard Niko Rivera (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) hit one of Eureka’s five 3-pointers in the first half with 11:18 left before halftime. Less than three minutes later, Lessen’s jumper triggered the 14-0 spurt that covered more than six minutes and culminated with two foul shots from Rivera for a 41-23 cushion at the 2:25 mark.
Blackburn’s Dakota Tucker hit a pair of 3-point baskets in the final two minutes before halftime to help the Beavers cut their deficit to 43-32 at intermission. The Red Devils used dominant inside play in the first half to build their double-digit lead, outscoring the visitors in the paint, 18-2, and owning a 28-13 advantage on the boards.
The Red Devils started the second half with another offensive outburst, using a 15-2 barrage in the first 5:08 of the half to lead 58-34. Eureka junior Dustin Fritsch (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) scored five points during the EC surge which included three 3-point field goals.
The Beavers were able to climb back within 19 points when Julian Lott connected from long range for a 66-47 score with 8:28 left. The Red Devils countered by using a 13-5 run over the final 3:28 to earn the season series sweep of the Beavers.
Lessen, who compiled career-highs of 34 points and 18 rebounds in the previous meeting with Blackburn on Jan. 18, went 9-for-17 from the field on Wednesday. He also had two blocks and a pair of dunks, as EC finished the game with a 42-10 edge on points scored in the paint. Junior guard and reigning SLIAC Player of the Week Jordan Kindred (Chrisman, Ill./Chrisman H.S.) was next with 16 points and four assists, while Rivera had 12 points. Junior guards Rian Nailor (Rock Falls, Ill./Rock Falls H.S./Sauk Valley) and Chuck Misuraca (Winnebago, Ill./Winnebago H.S./Missouri Valley) rounded out Eureka’s double-digit production with 11 points apiece.
Lott scored 17 points to lead Blackburn. The Beavers sputtered offensively in the second half, shooting just 27 percent (9-for-34) overall and 21 percent (3-for-14) from 3-point range. Blackburn, which saw its losing streak reach 12 games on Wednesday, distributed only two assists in the second half.
The Red Devils will return to the road this Saturday in St. Louis, Mo. with a 3 p.m. SLIAC tip-off against Webster. The Gorloks defeated the Red Devils at the Reagan Center on Jan. 10, 99-83.
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