For Immediate Release
Men's Basketball -- Feb. 8, 2012
Red Devils Whip Lincoln Christian, 99-70
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College junior center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) recorded game-highs of 33 points and 15 rebounds and junior forward Dustin Fritsch (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) tacked on 28 points, leading the Red Devils to a 99-70 non-conference triumph over Lincoln Christian, Wednesday night at the Reagan Center.
Eureka (14-8) never trailed Wednesday, breaking the only tie of the night in opening minute on its way to building an early 18-9 lead. The Red Devils would ultimately lead by double-digits as two different occasions in the first half, and an interior bucket from junior guard Niko Rivera (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) gave the hosts their largest lead of the half, 26-15, with 9:30 left.
The Red Lions (6-16) were able to claw back within a single possession late in the half, 30-28, on a 3-point field goal from Brady Cremeens with 3:14 remaining before intermission. Eureka ultimately carried a 37-32 lead into the break. Eureka did an exceptional job taking care of the ball on offense in the first 20 minutes, distributing 13 assists without a turnover.
Lincoln Christian scored on each of its first two possessions of the second half to cut its deficit to one, 37-36, but Eureka answered by ripping off an 18-2 burst over the next 5-minutes, 33-seconds to take a commanding 55-38 advantage at the 13:50 mark. Lessen scored 12 of EC’s 18 points during the run, including a pair of 3-point plays and a dunk with 16:44 to go.
Eureka’s lead wouldn’t dip below double-digits again. A total of 12 Red Devils scored, including the first career points for freshmen Cole Jackson (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington H.S./Carthage) and John Fisher (Bloomington, Ill./Tri-Valley H.S./Illinois College). The 29-point margin of victory proved to be the Red Devils’ largest lead of the night.
Lessen made 12 of his 13 field goal attempts for the night to pick up his second career 30-point game. He also went 9-for-10 from the free throw line. The Red Devils finished the contest with a season-high 28 assists and a season-low four turnovers. Junior guard Rian Nailor (Rock Falls, Ill./Rock Falls H.S./Sauk Valley) had a game-high nine assists to match a career-high, while junior Jordan Kindred (Chrisman, Ill./Chrisman H.S.) followed close behind with eight assists. Kindred’s effort improved his career total to 296 assists, passing Rick Taylor (1983-87) for eighth place on Eureka’s all-time list.
Mark Hamm went 8-for-10 from the floor to pace the visitors with 23 points. Chris Lawson (15), Cremeens (11) and Christian Lowery (10) also scored in double-figures in the loss. The Red Lions committed 18 turnovers that ultimately led to 25 Eureka points.
The Red Devils will return to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action Saturday against Fontbonne at the Reagan Center at 3 p.m.. Eureka will host its annual Senior Day, honoring lone senior Austin Nicholas (Brownsburg, Ind./Manitou Springs H.S./Lamar) during a ceremony prior to tip-off.
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