Head Coach Jim Ducey and the University of Redlands men's basketball team battled it out against the Bristol University Bears, who are coached by one of Ducey's former assistants, John Janssen, on Tuesday evening. After a hot offensive start, the Bulldogs settled into a more defensive mindset to capture a 78-71 non-conference victory over the Bears in Currier Gym.
Redlands came out on fire and hit its first three shots to take an 8-0 lead. Freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, before making his third of the night for the Maroon and Gray's 11-2 advantage with 16:30 left in the opening half.
The Bulldogs kept up the offensive pace with quality looks by sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ), junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA), and Wims, as the home team remained ahead throughout the first stanza. A late trey-ball by sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) and various players' successful trips to the charity stripe resulted in a 40-31 Bulldog advantage at the break.
Wims finished the first 20 minutes with an impressive 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, including five three-pointers.
However, the second half saw the Bears make the necessary adjustments to heat up their offense with a 46.7% shooting effort that included seven three-pointers. Bristol eventually took the lead at 61-60, when Mark Rodrigues drove to the basket off of a steal and an assist by Montaves Anderson.
Following a three-pointer by Sponheim and a five-point spurt by O'Brien, Redlands regained the lead at 68-64 with 3:31 left on the second-half clock.
But Bristol answered with a Zack Pannell bucket from downtown to cut the deficit to one.
Following a Bulldog timeout, Baker came up with a clutch three-pointer on a dime from Wims to make it a two-possession game with 31 seconds to go. Baker pulled in the key defensive rebound on the Bears' subsequent missed shot, before sinking a pair of huge free-throws to seal the deal.
Redlands closed it out at the stripe, with Sponheim and Baker converting three of the four final attempts, en route to the home team's third win of the season.
Bristol's Rodrigues led all scorers with a 27-point effort that included five three-pointers.
Wims paced the Maroon and Gray with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Baker stepped up with 13 points, nine boards, and five steals. O'Brien added 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in a solid effort. Sponheim tallied 14 points and four assists off the bench.
Redlands (3-2) welcomes the Boxers of Pacific University (OR) to Currier Gym on Monday, December 19, for a 2 p.m. non-conference bout.