U of R Men's Basketball Struggles to Contain the Occidental Tigers

Photo credit: Beth Doolittle
Photo credit: Beth Doolittle

The University of Redlands men's basketball team squared off against the Occidental College Tigers in Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game in Currier Gym.  While struggling to establish a good offensive rhythm, the Bulldogs suffered too many cold streaks, as compared to the visitors' efficient offense, and fell by a score of 47-70.

Junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) put Redlands on the board on its opening possession by nailing a short-range jumper for the early 2-0 lead. 

However, the Tigers quickly set the tone by making five of their first eight shots to create a 10-4 advantage less than five minutes into the game.

After junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) sank a free-throw with 13:36 to go, he snagged a defensive rebound on the Tigers' ensuing possession, before finding an open freshman forward David Menary (San Rafael, CA) on his way to the bucket for the lay-up.  Less than two minutes later, Menary's defensive rebound set up sophomore guard Joey Sponheim's (Redlands, CA) nothing-but-net three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within two at 10-12. 

The teams continued to trade buckets, with sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ), freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England), and O'Brien scoring for the Bulldogs.  Wims' shot from downtown off of a dime of a pass from freshman guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) put Redlands in front by a 21-18 margin with 3:44 left in the opening frame.

But a late 6-0 run by the Tigers sent Redlands into the locker room with a three-point deficit.

Wims drained another bucket from beyond the arc to open the second half in a 24-all tie.

Unfortunately for Redlands, Occidental remained hot on the offensive end and began to pull away, eventually building a double-digit lead. 

Although senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) impressed with his gutsy defense, it was not enough to slow down the Tigers' solid shooting. 

O'Brien finished with a team-high eight points, while Baker, Sponheim, and Wims each had seven.  Junior forward Nate Battisti (Seattle, WA) and senior forward Erick Oscarson (Chelan, WA) made the most of their late-game appearance by scoring nine points collectively.

Redlands (7-15, 3-10 SCIAC) looks forward to celebrating seniors Zack Whittet (Palm Desert, CA), Oscarson, and Milligan prior to the game on Tuesday, February 14.  The Bulldogs face Cal Lutheran University in a 7 p.m. conference showdown in Currier Gym.