The University of Redlands men's basketball team continued on its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) journey on Saturday by traveling to Eagle Rock for an afternoon showdown against the Occidental College Tigers. Despite holding a lead for the majority of the contest, the Bulldogs suffered a 72-76 defeat after a late-game offensive skid.
The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead with 17:57 to go in the first half after freshman center Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) converted a lay-up to push the score to 4-3.
A back-and-forth battle ensued for the entire first half, as there were nine lead-changes and six ties. Senior guard Marco Kengott (San Diego, CA) drove the lane aggressively in the first half and it paid off, sending him to the charity stripe for eight points before the end of the frame.
After freshman guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) and O'Brien notched back-to-back buckets, the Bulldogs headed into the locker room with a 34-30 advantage
The Bulldogs protected their marginal lead throughout the first 13 minutes of the second half.
Freshman forward Reed Hopkins (Spokane, WA) provided a hot hand behind the arc, draining two shots from long range then later sinking two free-throws and a lay-up for 10 points in his 14 minutes of the second half.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Tigers fired off a 21-8 run in the last seven minutes of the game, providing the difference in the final outcome.
Both teams shot well, registering a 51% effort from the field. However, the Tigers capitalized off the Bulldogs' turnovers by scoring 22 points.
Kengott finished the game with 14 points in 24 minutes, while O'Brien notched 13 points and three rebounds. Junior forward Aljosa Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) grabbed nine boards, to go along with nine points and four assists. Junior forward Shawn James (Plano, TX) chipped in nine points off the bench.
Redlands (5-13, 2-7 SCIAC) continues SCIAC competition on Tuesday, February 3, against the Caltech Beavers at 7:30 p.m. in Pasadena.