The University of Redlands men's basketball team traveled to Whittier College on Saturday night to take on the Poets in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown. After building an early lead, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain that rhythm and ultimately fell by a score of 81-94.
After junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) set the tone with his opening bucket, the Bulldogs orchestrated a solid start to the game that resulted in a 15-8 lead by the 16:37-mark. Husslein and sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) accounted for all of the Bulldogs' offense, with Baker scoring 10 of these points.
Although Whittier answered with a small five-point run, Redlands gained a trey-ball from sophomore Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA), before junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) made his way into the paint for a lay-up to make it 22-18 with 13:48 left in the first half. Senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) added to the long-range fireworks with a sweet three-pointer off of a dime of a pass by freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) for the Maroon and Gray's 25-18 advantage.
Baker and Sponehim continued the three-point parade by hitting nothing-but-net from downtown in their respective shots to keep Whittier at a distance of 31-25 at the 8:47-mark.
However, Whittier grabbed the lead with an 11-0 run over the next few minutes, before Milligan's shot from beyond the arc halted the Bulldogs' drought to make it 35-38.
Another cold streak allowed the Poets to secure a 49-37 lead when the teams entered the locker rooms for halftime.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gray, the team never recovered its offensive rhythm and fought to play catch-up for the remainder of the game. While cutting the deficit to fewer than 10 points on more than one occasion, the Bulldogs struggled to move any closer and eventually lost in an 81-94 tally.
Whittier owned a 25-for-33 advantage at the stripe in the second half alone. Overall, the Poets sank twice as many free-throws as Redlands in the game.
Baker led the Bulldogs with 23 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Milligan supplied 19 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals in another well-rounded display. Sponheim came off the bench to score 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including three three-pointers.
Redlands (7-17, 3-12 SCIAC) heads to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Tuesday, February 21, for a 7 p.m. conference tilt against the Sagehens in the final game of the regular season.