The University of Redlands men's basketball team headed to Thousand Oaks to face Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opponent Cal Lutheran University in a Tuesday night contest. With sophomore guard Trevor Baker's (Phoenix, AZ) 33-point performance carrying the team, the Bulldogs fought to overcome a significant deficit late in the game. However, the Kingsmen capitalized on Redlands' early turnovers to eventually hand the visitors a difficult 82-85 loss.
Junior guard Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) got things rolling in a big way as he sunk a shot from beyond the arc to put Redlands up three just 20 seconds into the game. After several missed shots on both ends of the court, Baker hauled in his first of seven rebounds to initiate a nice scoring drive for senior guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR). Freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) unleashed a bucket from downtown to give the Maroon and Gray an 8-2 lead just three minutes into the action.
However, the Kingsmen managed to equalize the score at 12-12 with 14:02 left on the first-half clock. In the remaining minutes of the stanza, Cal Lutheran erupted for a 31-10 run to put Redlands in a significant hole when the teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
Following an inspirational speech by Head Coach Jim Ducey, the Bulldogs came out ready to chip away at the 23-point deficit with determination and energy.
The first four minutes of the second stanza proved to be all Baker, as he scored eight of Redlands' opening 11 points to slightly trim the deficit to 39-58. Following back-to-back Baker threes, junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) made it three in a row for the Bulldogs, before Baker ended the spurt with a lay-up.
By the midway point of the half, Redlands continued to fight but trailed by a score of 42-66. Freshman forward David Menary (San Rafael, CA) went off for six-consecutive points in a little over a minute, as O'Brien continued to step up with two defensive boards, an assist, and a blocked shot.
Beginning at the eight-minute mark, Redlands put together a 31-14 run to close in on the Kingsmen. Baker's shooting remained on fire, as he went off for 20 points, including four three-pointers, six free-throws, and a lay-up, in a seven-minute span. Husslein, O'Brien, sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA), and freshman guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) combined for the Bulldogs' other 11 points during this spurt.
With 1:30 left in the game, Baker knocked down his sixth shot from beyond the arc to move the Bulldogs within three at 79-82.
After a successful Baker free-throw, the Kingsmen extended their lead with a crucial three-pointer with 20 ticks left on the clock. Amidst many missed opportunities on both ends of the court, Baker remained relentless and converted one final lay-up. But the clock was the enemy for the Maroon and Gray, as the final buzzer sounded with the Bulldogs still down by a score of 82-85.
Baker had an unbelievable game by scoring a career-high 33 points, as highlighted by 31 in the second half. O'Brien added 11 points and hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double. The bench supplied 22 points, with Menary owning nine of them, to go along with five rebounds.
Redlands (5-11, 1-6 SCIAC) looks to return to the win column when it travels to Occidental College on Thursday, January 26, for a 7 p.m. SCIAC showdown.