The University of Redlands men's basketball team captured its second win in a row on Saturday night by cruising past the Caltech Beavers in an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown in Currier Gym. After going up 5-2 early in the contest, the Bulldogs never relinquished their lead en route to a solid 89-64 victory.
Following Caltech's opening bucket, the Maroon and Gray fired off eight-straight points, including back-to-back threes from sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ), to force an early Beaver timeout.
Although Caltech responded with a long-range basket of its own, Redlands quickly extended its advantage to 16-5, as highlighted by freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) and senior Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) each scoring second-chance buckets.
At the 13-minute mark of the opening frame, the Bulldogs remained in control at 23-12, with freshman guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) adding two points of his own.
Although Caltech mustered an 8-2 run to make it a five-point game, Redlands was unfazed and went right back to work. Sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) found an open junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA), before the duo traded roles for a Sponheim three-pointer to make it 30-20 with 8:38 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs continued to press on the gas pedal with big buckets, including three-pointers from Berry, Baker, and junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam).
The teams retreated into the locker room at halftime with the Maroon and Gray holding a 45-36 lead.
Caltech came out firing in the second half and hit an early shot from downtown to close within six points. However, O'Brien answered for Redlands with his own long-range bucket off of a dime of a pass from Husslein to make it 48-39 with 18:27 left in the game.
As the teams continued to trade buckets, the Bulldogs were up by 10 points with 12:12 remaining. Baker bookended a nice Redlands run that culminated in a 77-54 advantage just four minutes later. Redlands took care of business at the free-throw line to keep the game out of reach for the visitors, resulting in the 89-64 win.
While shooting 62.5% on the night, Baker finished with a game-high 31 points, including six three-pointers. Sponheim and O'Brien each chipped in 13 points, while Wims added 11.
Milligan was effective by recording four offensive rebounds and five assists. Husslein also dished out five assists and hauled in five rebounds.
Redlands (7-11, 3-6 SCIAC) welcomes Chapman University to Currier Gym on Thursday, February 2, for a 7 p.m. conference game.