The University of Redlands men's basketball team took to the road on Saturday afternoon for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against the Chapman University Panthers in Orange. Despite shooting 51.9% from the field, the Bulldogs struggled to counter the Panthers' late surge of three-pointers and ultimately lost a heartbreaker by a score of 69-70.
After Chapman scored the first two points of the game, the Maroon and Gray built a 29-14 lead with an exceptional shooting display that included multiple scoring runs. Sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) knocked down five points in the Bulldogs' early offensive outburst to make it 9-2 with 16:17 left in the first half.
A few possessions later, Redlands fired off an 18-7 scoring spurt that included buckets from Baker, junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA), senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR), sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA), and junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam). With 7:56 left in the opening stanza, Redlands held a 29-14 lead and appeared to be in control of the game.
However, the Panthers heated up from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to only six by the time the teams retreated to the locker room for halftime.
Redlands shot an impressive 53.3% during the opening frame, as compared to Chapman's 33.3% showing. But the Panthers took advantage of their 18 opportunities at the charity stripe by converting 12 of them, with Redlands going only 3-for-5 from the free-throw line.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Chapman maintained its momentum in the second half, eventually snagging the lead at 42-41 off of another three-pointer with 15:19 to go.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with the Panthers gaining their largest lead of the night at 57-51 with 6:34 left on the clock.
About two minutes later, Husslein scored on back-to-back possessions to put Redlands back in front at 58-57, before Bakers' pair of free-throws expanded the advantage to 60-57.
The Bulldogs continued to press offensively, with freshman Jesse Wims (London, England) leading the charge with a five-point spurt to make it 65-60 at the 2:04-mark.
But the Panthers kept draining shots from downtown and the charity strip, to eventually even the tally at 67. A foul under the basket gave Chapman the slight lead off of the ensuing free-throw at 68-67 with 34 seconds remaining.
The teams traded baskets, with Baker juking the defender to create space on the baseline for a key lay-up for the Bulldogs with 16 ticks to go.
After Chapman's subsequent bucket, three timeouts were called, before Redlands attempted a long throw-in for the immediate shot at the buzzer but it didn't fall, resulting in the difficult one-point loss.
The Bulldogs finished the night with a solid 51.9% shooting effort, including a 5-for-12 performance from beyond the arc.
Baker led the Maroon and Gray with 17 points on a 6-for-11 showing. Husslein chipped in 11 points off of 5-for-6 shooting, while O'Brien and Milligan each added 10 points. Sponheim led the bench with nine points.
Redlands (4-8, 0-3 SCIAC) heads to Caltech on Thursday, January 12, for a 7 p.m. showdown against the Beavers.