Behind a career-high 30 points from senior guard Ricky Peetz (Redlands, CA), the University of Redlands men's basketball team notched a solid 89-75 triumph over the visiting Bearcats of Willamette University (OR) on Thursday night. While scoring 88 or more points for the third game in a row, the Bulldogs also notched their third consecutive win, all of which have come against west-regional foes.
After a tight start to the contest, the Bulldogs faced a two-point deficit at 14-16 with 11:54 to go in the first frame. However, Peetz simply took over by firing off six consecutive three-pointers over the course of four minutes, accounting for the Bulldogs' 18-4 run. Freshman guard Sean Milligan (Bellevue, WA) provided the first three assists to set up the scoring spree.
This impressive outburst inspired senior forward Eric Radford (Federal Way, WA) and senior guard Alex Rudd (St. Louis, MO) to also hit shots from beyond the arc, making it 40-26 with 4:47 remaining in the half.
Although the Bearcats cut it to 10, Redlands quickly rallied the lead back to 15 points. After a pair of freshman guard Zack Whittet (Palm Desert, CA) free-throws, the Bulldogs' next possession saw Peetz unleash his seventh three-pointer in a row, but this one came with the shot clock winding down and the defense in his face. From well beyond the arc, he let it go and in it went, making it 45-30 with 2:14 left on the first-half clock.
The Maroon and Gray took a 48-34 lead into the locker room after shooting 42.9% as a team in the opening stanza. Although Willamette converted on 46.7% of its shots, the Bulldogs made up the difference by knocking down 10 buckets from long range at a clip of 71.4%.
During a free-throw-heavy second half, the Bulldogs maintained their lead through the final whistle. Redlands went to the line 23 times and capitalized on 18 attempts. Sophomore forward Aljosa Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) and senior guard Kendel Glapion (San Francisco, CA) combined for 12 of the team's made free-throws in the second stanza.
Willamette was 13-for-19 at the charity stripe in the final 20 minutes.
Although the Bearcats chipped away at the hole to within nine points late in the game, the Maroon and Gray's victory was never in question. As the shot clock again threatened to expire, Peetz knocked down his eighth three-pointer of the night with less than two minutes to go, capping off the career night.
Peetz was 8-for-13 overall and 8-for-10 from long range. He also registered three steals on defense. After the win, Peetz spoke about his run of threes and how the team has made a positive adjustment in the last few games.
In addition, Redlands' offense included 10 other scoring players, with Radford adding 15 points and Glapion finishing with 10.
Defensively, Bjekovic led the Bulldogs' rebounding effort with nine boards, as Redlands won the battle with a 43-33 margin.
Luedtke led the Bearcats (1-5) with 26 points, 10 of which came at the free-throw line. He also added team-highs of seven rebounds and six steals. In addition, Joseph Jackson and Alex Brown both came off the bench for 10 points.
Redlands (4-5) takes a short break for the holidays before returning to action on Sat., Dec. 28, when it hosts Calvin College (MN) in a 2 p.m. bout.