U of R Men's Basketball Stumbles to Lewis & Clark in Teams' Second Meeting

Photo credit: Dan Harris, D3photography.com
Photo credit: Dan Harris, D3photography.com

The University of Redlands men's basketball team wrapped up its two-game road-swing in the Pacific Northwest by squaring off against the Pios of Lewis & Clark College (OR) on Tuesday afternoon.  Despite jumping out to a five-point lead early in the game, the Bulldogs struggled to counter the home team's high-octane offense that included 12 treys and resulted in a 60-80 loss in Portland.

The Maroon and Gray came out firing, as senior forward Al Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) knocked down the opening basket, before junior guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) converted a three-pointer for the visitors' 5-0 lead with 18 minutes to go in the first half.

Over the next few minutes, the teams traded punches from beyond the arc, as sophomore center Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) impressed from long range to make it 11-13 with 11:47 left on the clock.

Two minutes later, sophomore forward Nate Battisti's (Seattle, WA) jumper propelled Redlands back in front, before Bjekovic, sophomore forward Reed Hopkins (Spokane, WA), and O'Brien contributed key points for the Maroon and Gray's 22-18 lead.

However, the Pios erupted for a 14-1 run and eventually carried a 45-30 advantage into the locker room at the break.

With the help of three-consecutive triples from O'Brien, Redlands worked to cut the deficit to nine points by the 12:30-mark of the second half.

But the home team went on to hit more threes down the stretch, resulting in the Bulldogs' second loss to Lewis & Clark this season.

Three of Redlands' starters hit double figures, with O'Brien leading the effort with 14 points.  Bjekovic and Milligan each added 10 points.  Sophomore guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) provided six points, four assists, and three rebounds.

While the teams shot comparably around 36%, the Pios (3-6) took better advantage of second-chance opportunities and Redlands' turnovers by converting 32 points in these scenarios.

Redlands (4-4) looks forward to a short, break before returning home to the friendly confines of Currier Gym on Wednesday, December 30, when it hosts UC Santa Cruz at 5 p.m. in another familiar match-up.  The Bulldogs defeated the Banana Slugs earlier this season by a score of 67-58 and strives to repeat that result on the 30th.