The University of Redlands men's basketball team took to the road on Thursday night to square off against the Caltech Beavers in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown. In a game that included six ties and four lead-changes, the Bulldogs pulled away late in the game off of great defense and quality shooting to capture a 78-71 win in Pasadena.
However, the Beavers worked to tie it up at 21. Following a successful free-throw by freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England), sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) knocked down a three-pointer to put the Bulldogs back in front at 25-21.
The teams went on to trade buckets and free-throws, until Caltech knocked down a pair of three-pointers to take a slight advantage late in the first half. At the midway point of the game, the Beavers held a slight 39-36 advantage.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the second stanza, with Caltech fighting to build a 57-51 lead by the 12-minute mark. After Baker swiped a steal and drove the basket for a lay-up, Wims converted four free-throws over the next few minutes to keep Redlands within striking distance.
Sponheim continued this trend at the stripe and then hit nothing-but-net on a three-pointer after junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) dished him a dime of a pass.
With the score knotted at 62-all, the Bulldogs looked to Husslein to continue pressing offensively with back-to-back lay-ups, before Sponheim snagged a key offensive board and converted it into a lay-up for Redlands' 68-64 lead. O'Brien and senior guard Sean Milligan's (Portland, OR) buckets made it an eight-point game with 48 seconds left on the clock.
From here, Baker and O'Brien took care of business at the free-throw line, combining for a 6-of-8 showing to seal the deal for the Maroon and Gray.
Wims and Baker each fired off 20 points, with Wims going 3-for-4 from downtown. Sponheim chipped in 15 points off the bench. In addition, Wims pulled in 11 rebounds, while Husslein distributed five assists.
Redlands (5-8, 1-3 SCIAC) returns home to Currier Gym on Saturday, January 14, for a 7 p.m. SCIAC bout with Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.