EUREKA, Ill. – Greenville College was outpaced in their SLIAC opener as they dropped a 101-90 overtime decision to foe Eureka College Wednesday night at the Reagan Center.
Senior guard K.J. Hilliard led the Panthers with 20 points in a game-high 36 minutes. Hilliard also posted a team-high eight boards and two steals in the loss. Junior transfer Jordan Smith netted 18 points while fellow junior guard Ben Giertz added 14 points.
In first half play it was the Red Devils of Eureka (2-3, 1-0 SLIAC) that commenced the contest with stingy defense that limited Greenville (2-3, 0-1 SLIAC) to just one field goal through the first five minutes of play. GC found themselves down 14-2 early before a big run would equalize the score at 21-21. The Panthers ultimately carried the momentum into intermission, scoring eight of the final 10 points to carry a 43-37 advantage into the break. The six-point lead was the Panthers’ largest of the first half.
In the second frame Eureka again came out hot, retaking the lead behind key offensive production by junior forward Dustin Fritsch. Fritsch would lead all scorers in the bout, dropping in a game-high 31 points. However, Greenville again responded as they pushed back and regained a 73-72 lead on two foul shots from senior Jonas McBride with 4:05 left.
Eureka’s Fritsch and Hilliard traded baskets in the final minutes to keep both squads alive before a Red Devil triple with 1:02 left in regulation moved the hosts back in front, 79-78. The Panthers failed to find the bottom of the net in their following possession, and two foul shots earned the opposition an 81-78 lead with 25 seconds remaining. With the game on the line, GC turned to Hilliard who drilled a game tying 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to force an 81-81 tie and an overtime session.
Overtime proved to be to much for the Panthers, as they found themselves dominated the extra session, surrendering a 20-9 run. A string of fastbreak baskets gave the Red Devils a 90-83 lead, effectively putting away the victory for the hosts and serving a heartbroken Panther squad the 101-90 defeat.
Greenville went cold from long range in overtime, going just 1-for-8 from beyond the arc in the final five minutes. GC was equally ineffective from the floor, shooting just 3-for-12 from the hardwood in extra time.
GC men’s basketball will return to action on Saturday, December 3 as they go on the road to face MacMurray College at 3:00 pm