The University of Redlands men's basketball team lost in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday evening, falling in overtime to the University of La Verne, 70-74. The Bulldogs fought valiantly, but it was not enough as Redlands could not pull out the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) road victory.
Senior guard Ricky Peetz (Redlands, CA) started the game for the Maroon and Gray with an early three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead after two minutes.
The Leopards then went on a 22-7 run over the next several minutes, and with just 3:29 remaining in the first stanza, Redlands trailed, 10-24.
After that cold shooting spell the Bulldogs experienced, senior forward Alex Rudd (St. Louis, MO) came off the bench and nailed a jumper, while Peetz added another shot from distance to cut the deficit to just nine points. Sophomore forward Aljosa Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) sank a shot from deep with just 43 seconds left in the half, and after senior guard Matt Calhoun (Clackamas, OR) converted a layup opportunity, the deficit was down to just five points at the break.
In the second stanza, the Maroon and Gray continued to stay hot from beyond the arc, as Peetz and senior forward Eric Radford (Federal Way, WA) made three-pointers to begin the half for the Bulldogs.
The Leopards extended their lead back to 10 points, however, but the Bulldogs did not go away. With 12 minutes left on the clock, Redlands trailed by 13 points, but started to climb out of the hole one basket at a time.
For every score Redlands tallied, La Verne had an answer up until the six-minute mark. At that point, the Bulldogs trailed by 14 points, but then the U of R caught fire.
Rudd sank back-to-back shots from downtown, Radford converted a layup opportunity, Bjekovic sank a long-range effort, and freshman guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) made a jump shot in quick succession, cutting the lead to just one point with five minutes left.
Two minutes later, Rudd made a layup, and the game was tied at 53-53. The two sides traded free throws down the stretch, but Rudd and Radford nailed three-point shots for Redlands inside of the last three minutes for the Bulldogs, giving the Maroon and Gray the two-point lead with just over a minute remaining.
La Verne, however, tied the game with a layup at the 49-second mark, and neither team would convert their final opportunities to win the game in regulation.
In the overtime period, Redlands struggled to score early on and eventually found itself down 64-71 with 38 seconds left. Peetz and Rudd both made clutch three-pointers to pull the Bulldogs back to within two points with 16 seconds remaining, forcing the Bulldogs to then send the Leopards to the free-throw line. La Verne (8-12, 5-6 SCIAC) made both shots from the charity stripe, and after Redlands' final shot attempt did not fall, the game ended.
As a team, Redlands shot just 38.3% from the field, while going 42.9% from beyond the arc. The Maroon and Gray also went 12-for-20 from the charity stripe, while the Leopards went 24-for-38 from the free-throw line, ultimately proving to be the difference.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Rudd with 19 points on an efficient 6-for-12 effort overall including four made shots from downtown. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out one assist and nabbed two steals. Radford racked up 17 points, eight boards, and seven assists, while Bjekovic tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds. Peetz also chipped in 12 points on the evening.
The U of R (8-12, 4-7 SCIAC) remains on the road on Saturday night when it takes on Occidental College (9-11, 4-7 SCIAC). Tipoff in Eagle Rock is scheduled for 5 p.m.