The University of Redlands men's basketball team returned to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Wednesday night by taking on Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in a road match. Despite knocking down 15 three-pointers, the Bulldogs suffered a 77-82 loss to the Sagehens in Voelkel Gym.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 8-2 lead by the 17:53-mark, with sophomore guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) and senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) bookending the run with three-pointers. Redlands stayed in front over the next five minutes off of a well-balanced attack. Senior wing Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) also hit a nothing-but-net three-pointer, while junior guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) knocked in a layup. In addition, junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) converted a pair of free throws before finding sophomore forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA) for the layup.
After the Sagehens tied it up at 17, the teams went toe-to-toe with neither gaining much of an edge through 18 minutes of action.
While leading by one with 2:20 to go in the first half, Pomona-Pitzer closed out the frame with an 8-0 spurt to carry a 46-37 advantage into the locker room.
The home team maintained that momentum to start the second stanza while gaining its largest lead of the night at 54-42 with 16:58 remaining in the game.
About four minutes later, Redlands made up some ground with first-year wing Gary Menary's (Grass Valley, CA) well-timed three-pointer, which came off of Landolf's dime of a pass, to make it 53-59. Thanks in part to a pair of threes from D. Menary and junior guard Thomas Scriven (Anaheim, CA), the Bulldogs orchestrated an 8-2 run to tie it up at 61 by the midway point of the stanza.
But the Sagehens ended the stalemate over the next eight minutes by inching away in an incredibly tight contest.
Down 69-77 with two minutes left in regulation, Redlands saw Landolf and D. Menary make things interesting by draining buckets from deep. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs were forced to foul in the waning seconds and fell short of the comeback in the 77-82 loss.
D. Menary led the Maroon and Gray with 19 points on 50% shooting. Sponheim converted three buckets from downtown en route to scoring 16 points while also delivering four assists. Landolf chipped in 11 points as the only other Bulldog in double digits. Foster scored eight points as one of eight Redlands players to register at least one bucket from downtown.
Overall, the Bulldogs shot 42.9% from deep and 90.9% from the charity stripe. Redlands out-scored the Sagehens in the second half, 40-36.
Redlands (6-5, 1-1 SCIAC) returns home to the friendly confines of Currier Gym on Saturday, January 5, when it hosts the Stags of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges as part of a conference doubleheader. The men tip off at approximately 4 p.m., following the women's game at 2 p.m.