The University of Redlands men's basketball team continued its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) venture on Tuesday night, taking on the Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen in Thousand Oaks. Despite an 18-point performance by junior forward Aljosa Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia), the Bulldogs trailed throughout the contest and struggled to counter the home team's strong shooting night, resulting in the Maroon and Gray's tough 56-71 loss.
After CLU jumped out to a five-point lead, freshman center Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) notched the first bucket of the game for the Bulldogs. Over the next three minutes, he and Bjekovic teamed up to make it 7-9.
However, the Kingsmen fired off a 10-5 run to extend their lead 19-12 by the midway point of the stanza.
The Bulldogs' shaky offensive trend continued through the first half, as CLU entered the break with a 37-25 advantage.
During the second half, Redlands fought to keep the deficit to single digits, closing the gap to six points with 7:31 to go. Bjekovic led the charge for the Maroon and Gray, capping off the scoring spurt with a three-pointer, while the Bulldogs also gained key points from junior forward Kyle Milligan (Portland, OR) and senior guard Marco Kengott (San Diego, CA) during this rally.
Unfortunately, Redlands struggled to maintain defensive composure and gave up six quick points to fall behind by 12. From that moment on, scoring came at a premium for the Bulldogs, as they lost to the Kingsmen by a score of 56-71.
Overall, Bjekovic was a rebound away from recording another double-double, leading the team with 18 points and nine rebounds. O'Brien followed with nine points to go along with six rebounds, while sophomore guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) dished out three assists.
The Bulldogs (3-8, 0-1 SCIAC) continue their SCIAC journey on Saturday, January 10, against the Caltech Beavers in Currier Gym at 4 p.m. Saturday also marks Family Fun Night, during which any adult accompanied by a child will receive free admission to the doubleheader.