The University of Redlands men's basketball team officially opened the 2017-18 season by taking a road-trip to Tacoma, Washington, for the MacArthur Classic at the University of Puget Sound. Friday's game pitted the Bulldogs against the Boxers of Pacific University (OR) in an exciting in-region showdown that resulted in seven ties and eight lead-changes, and required overtime to determine a victor. Despite shooting 42.3% and hauling in nine more rebounds than the opponents, the Maroon and Gray suffered a tough 79-85 loss.
Redlands nabbed its first lead of the game by sinking three quick trey-balls for a 9-7 advantage less than five minutes into the action. Sophomore forward Jesse Wims (London, England) hit the first two, while junior guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) sank the third.
The game continued to ebb and flow, with neither squad earning more than a five-point advantage. Key three-pointers by sophomore guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) and Baker fueled the offensive fire for the Bulldogs. With 4:52 remaining in the first half, senior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) stepped up with a jumper to put the Maroon and Gray back in front at 32-31. He scored the team's next six points to close out the half with a 38-33 Bulldog lead at the midway point of the game.
However, Pacific came out firing to start the second half and quickly evened the tally at 39 apiece with 17:55 left on the clock.
Baker's hot hand kept Redlands within striking distance, while rebounds by O'Brien and first-year guard Jacob Russell (Boise, ID) provided quality opportunities for the Bulldogs.
Now trailing by seven at 45-52, the Maroon and Gray looked to Wims to knock down a three-pointer off of an assist by sophomore guard Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) to cut the deficit to four points.
Redlands continued to grind out defense and make lay-ups to claw away at a comeback, with Wims and junior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) leading the charge. The Bulldogs used this momentum to put together a 7-0 run to tie it up at 61, beginning with sophomore forward David Menary's (Grass Valley, CA) jumper at the 7:57-mark.
In the final few minutes, Pacific managed multiple leads, but the Bulldogs always answered back, as highlighted by Sponheim's late bucket from downtown to make it a one-point game at 64-65 with 4:19 to go. Sponheim provided what would be the Bulldogs' final basket to knot the score one last time in regulation.
After Menary blocked Pacific's final look at the basket and hauled in the subsequent rebound, Head Coach Jim Ducey called a timeout to draw up a play for the potentially winning score. However, it was not to be and the game headed to overtime.
Pacific took the early lead in the extra period but Redlands cut it to two on three different occasions. Ultimately, the Bulldogs were forced to foul and the Boxers took care of business at the charity stripe en route to the final score of 85-79.
Overall, Redlands shot 42.3%, while Pacific converted 39.5% of its shots. The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle with a 49-40 advantage.
Baker finished the night with 23 points on 50% shooting. He also dished out four assists. Wims added 17 points on a 54.5% performance. Sponheim chipped in 16 points, while Menary supplied team-highs with 11 rebounds and five assists.
Redlands (0-1) takes on Puget Sound in Saturday's 8 p.m. game of the MacArthur Classic.