The University of Redlands men's basketball team jumped back into the win column on Friday afternoon with a solid, 86-69 victory over the La Sierra University Golden Eagles during the Purple & Gold Poet Classic in Whittier. After creating an early 10-point advantage, the Bulldogs cruised to the comfortable win off of an impressive 51.7% shooting effort that was highlighted by sophomore guard Trevor Baker's (Phoenix, AZ) 21 points.
While making his first start of the 2016-17 season, sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) snagged a steal on the Golden Eagles' opening possession to set up sophomore forward Blake O'Brien's (Sammamish, WA) quick lay-up.
A few minutes later, freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) capitalized off of another La Sierra turnover by sinking his first jumper of the game for the Bulldogs' 4-0 advantage.
O'Brien and freshman guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) added to the Maroon and Gray's momentum, before Baker dropped in five points on consecutive opportunities to make it a 10-point game at 13-3. Senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) contributed the assist on both shots, while Sponheim's defense provided a key steal.
Although the Golden Eagles cut their deficit to five, Redlands quickly answered with an and-one play by freshman forward David Menary (San Rafael, CA) and a lay-up by junior guard Wyatt Pannabecker (Choteau, MT), making it 18-8 with 10:19 to go in the first half.
Freshman forward Brittain Foster (Long Beach, CA), junior forward Will Tender (Spokane, WA), Milligan, and Sponheim added to the Bulldogs' offensive power to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 39-28 halftime lead.
Redlands continued to roll through the second stanza, with Sponheim heating up from downtown with a trio of three-pointers, while Wims put the exclamation point on the day with an emphatic dunk with 12:46 remaining.
Furthermore, senior forward Erick Oscarson (Chelan, WA) topped off the fine Bulldog outing with a late lay-up and free-throw of his own.
Baker was 8-for-13, including a 3-for-5 showing from beyond the arc, for 21 points. He added four rebounds and three steals.
Sponheim finished with 15 points, three assists, and three steals, while O'Brien added 12 points and five rebounds. Milligan dished out five dimes for the Maroon and Gray.
Redlands (4-5) looks forward to opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Tuesday, January 3, when it hosts the University of La Verne at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.