Men's basketball surges back to top Eureka

Photo contributed by Darrin Stewart
Photo contributed by Darrin Stewart

EUREKA, Ill. -- For the second time in less than five weeks, the men's basketball team joined Eureka to play the highest scoring game in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference history, as the Panthers came from behind to defeat the Red Devils 149-146 on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers and Red Devils combined for 295 points, breaking the previous combined SLIAC scoring record of 287 set on three different occasions by Greenville and its opponents earlier this season.

The Red Devils held a seven-point lead (146-139) with 59 seconds to play, but GC scored 10 straight points to close the game. Johari Dix pulled the Panthers within four on a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left. Following an EC turnover, Kenny Greene brought the visitors within one, 146-145, when his deep 3-pointer banked in. Another EC turnover allowed the Panthers to take the lead, 147-146, on Shane Smith's layup with 22 seconds to play.

Down one, Eureka couldn't convert at the offensive end. GC extended the lead to three after two free throws with eight seconds left. Faced with one final chance to tie in the closing seconds, Eureka's 3-point try was partially blocked at the buzzer.

Kenny Greene led Greenville with 24 points.  Elmo Smith passed the 20 point mark with 21 markers and led the team with seven rebounds.

Daniel Saeli got the start and posted five assists.

Michael Hohm had 15 points and seven steals.

With the win, Greenville tied the 1995-96 team with the most wins in the regular season since joining the NCAA.  The Panthers hold a record of 19-4 (11-3 SLIAC) with two games left to play.  No team in Greenville men's basketball's NCAA history has won more than 19 regular season games.

The Panthers next win will allow them to host the SLIAC tournament on Feb. 24 and 25.  Greenville plays Principia on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before closing the regular season with Blackburn on Saturday at 3 p.m.