While never trailing in the contest, the University of Redlands men's basketball team captured the season sweep of the Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen with today's 83-63 victory in Thousand Oaks. With their offense clicking, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 13-0 lead and remained ahead through the final whistle.
After a pair of successful free-throws, junior guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) led the Maroon and Gray's hot start by scoring back-to-back lay-ups in the ensuing possessions. Senior center Kyle Milligan (Portland, OR) paralleled these contributions with a block and an assist.
A quick CLU timeout did nothing to stop the Bulldogs' scoring run, as senior forward Al Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) pulled up to make a jump shot, before sophomore guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) rattled off Redlands' next five points for the early 13-0 lead.
The Kingsmen halted their dry spell with a three-pointer, but Bulldog sophomore center Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) answered with a jumper to continue the visitors' offensive outburst.
Following sophomore forward Will Tender's (Spokane, WA) made free-throw, freshman guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) hit nothing but net on a trey-ball to make it 19-3 with 13:30 left in the first half.
After Sponheim added another three, Redlands looked to the usual suspects to maintain the scoring rhythm. In addition, senior center Shawn James (Plano, TX) scored back-to-back lay-ups to extend the Bulldogs' early advantage to 17 points.
Bjekovic's final first-half jumper capped off a stellar start to the game, as the Maroon and Gray entered the locker room with a 43-23 lead.
Redlands worked the first eight minutes of the second half to stretch the advantage to 27 points by the 11:53-mark. In addition to multiple baskets by Bjekovic and Husslein, James and O'Brien added key scores, before Sponheim capped off the solid offensive performance with his third three of the game.
Late in the game, the Bulldogs gained important contributions from various players off the pine, including freshman guard Jacob Forte (Lake Elsinore, CA), junior forward Zack Whittet (Palm Desert, CA), sophomore guard Wyatt Pannabecker (Choteau, MT), freshman forward Trevor Brown (San Mateo, CA), and senior guard Jake Olsen (Portland, OR). Redlands cruised to the 83-63 victory while utilizing 13 different players, with each scoring at least one point.
Overall, the Maroon and Gray shot a season-best 56.6% on the night, eclipsing the 50%-mark for only the second time this year.
Bjekovic led all players with 21 points, which came off of 7-for-11 shooting. Husslein added 15 points in a 6-for-11 showing. Sponheim chipped in nine points to lead the Bulldog bench.
S. Milligan served as the top facilitator with five of the team's 18 assists while also adding eight points, four rebounds, and two steals.
Redlands (8-10, 4-5 SCIAC) returns home to Currier Gym on Wednesday, February 3, for a 7:30 p.m. SCIAC showdown against the Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.