UR Men's Basketball Slips into Fourth Place with 91-94 Loss to Whittier College
The University of Redlands men's basketball team faltered to the Whittier College Poets in Wednesday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown between the tied-for-third place squads. While struggling down the stretch, the Bulldogs gave up a 10-point lead in the final six minutes en route to the disappointing 91-94 loss to the Poets.
During a back-and-forth battle, the score was tied on 13 occasions, including the final time with 37 seconds left in the game. Redlands unleashed a shooting display of 59%, compared to Whittier's 53% performance. However, the Poet defenseforced 27 Bulldog turnovers and converted them to 20 points.
The first half saw a tight contest with neither team breaking away by more than a few points. Sophomore guard Matt Calhoun (Clackamas, OR) led the Bulldogs to a 48-47 advantage at the break with his 13-point performance in the opening stanza.
Redlands built a 10-point lead by the 5:51-mark of the second frame with senior forward Mychal Estrada (Redlands, CA) leading the charge with his long-range onslaught. With 8:28 left in the game, he had knocked down five of his six second-half three-pointers, providing great momentum for the Maroon and Gray.
However, the Poets regrouped to rattle off a 16-2 run to secure an 89-85 lead with less than two minutes to go.
At the 37-second-mark, Estrada tied it up at 90 all with his seventh and final three, giving him a team-leading 21 points in the game.
After a late jumper by Whittier's Greg Preer and an unfortunate foul against the Bulldogs, Preer sealed it with a pair of free-throws.
One last trip to the charity stripe for junior forward Josiah Brensdal (Kent, WA) allowed the Maroon and Gray to make it a three-point game as time expired.
Besides Estrada, Redlands boasted five additional players in double figures. Calhoun recorded a career-high 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while senior center Jack Colston (Dana Point, CA) chipped in 14 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Tristan Kirk (Redlands, CA) added 11 points, as junior guard Brian Kuklok (Poway, CA) and Brensdal scored 10 apiece.
The Bulldogs' bench produced 46 points, compared to Whittier's with 23. In addition, the Maroon and Gray won the rebounding battle with a 37-27 margin.
Redlands (11-10, 6-4 SCIAC) returns to the friendly confines of Currier Gym on Saturday for "Family Fun Night" as it hosts No. 11 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in another important SCIAC showdown. The men tip off at approximately 7 p.m., after the women take on the Athenas at 5 p.m.