GREENVILLE, Ill. – Eureka College junior guard Jordan Kindred (Chrisman, Ill./Chrisman H.S.) scored a career-high 40 points, the best offensive showing by a Red Devil in more than two years, helping EC overcome a 12-point halftime deficit and notch a 101-97 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory at Greenville, Saturday afternoon at H.J. Long Gymnasium.
The Red Devils (11-8, 8-3 SLIAC) found themselves a big hole early, falling behind 12-2 in the first 4-minutes, 2-seconds of the game. Eureka promptly recovered, answering with a 14-7 run and getting back within a single possession when junior guard Niko Rivera (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) connected on a jumper for a 19-16 deficit at the 10:41 mark of the first half.
Three points would be as close as the Red Devils would be able to get before halftime, as the hosts pushed their advantage back to double-digits, 33-21, on a 3-pointer by Jose Garcia with 5:44 to go. The Panthers ultimately led at halftime, 47-35.
Kindred did nearly all of his damage during the second half and gave the Red Devils their first lead of the afternoon, 67-66, on a 3-pointer with 10:39 left. The two sides would go on to trade the lead four more times in the next three minutes before the Red Devils used a 16-4 run to open up their largest lead of the game, 89-78, with 4:04 left.
The Panthers (10-8, 5-5 SLIAC) refused to go away, chipping away at their deficit and getting within a single point, 95-94, after two free throws from Ben Giertz with 58 ticks left. The Red Devils answered with two free throws from junior guard Rian Nailor (Rock Falls, Ill./Rock Falls H.S./Sauk Valley), a defensive stop and a breakaway slam dunk from junior center Mark Lessen (Delavan, Ill./Delavan H.S.) to push the advantage to 99-94. Kindred would eventually bury two free throws in the final 10 seconds to help Eureka secure the four-point victory.
Kindred scored 33 points in the second half and set new career-highs with 12 field goals and 6 3-pointers overall. His 40-point showing was the best by a Red Devil since Kameron Bell poured in 44 points in Eureka's opening-night victory at Rockford on Nov. 18, 2009. Kindred also handed out five assists on Saturday to improve his career total to 280. He needs another 14 helpers to tie Rick Taylor (1983-87) for eighth place on Eureka's all-time list. Kindred also needs an additional 109 points to become the first Red Devil to score 1,000 career points since Michael Zasada during the 2009-10 season.
Eureka scored 66 points and connected on 22 of its 32 shots after halftime. Included in the shooting performance was a 7-for-10 effort from 3-point range, five of which came from Kindred.
Junior forward Dustin Fritsch (Sterling, Ill./Sterling H.S./Sauk Valley) was next for the Red Devils with 15 points, as all five Eureka starters scored in double-figures for the second time this season. Fritsch added a game-high 11 boards for his team-best ninth double-double of the season. Eureka outrebounded the Panthers as a team, 40-32.
Markeith Brown scored 22 points to pace Greenville. The Panthers' defeat marked just the second time Greenville has dropped a game to the Red Devils on its home floor since Eureka joined the SLIAC prior to the 2006-07 campaign.
Eureka will return to the Reagan Center this Wednesday for an 8 p.m. SLIAC contest versus Blackburn. Eureka downed the Beavers, 84-62, on Jan. 18 in Carlinville, Ill.