The University of Redlands men's basketball team headed to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Tuesday to compete in the final game of the 2016-17 season, with hopes of providing a victorious send-off for the Maroon and Gray seniors. While shooting an impressive 50% from the field, the Bulldogs turned an early, eight-point deficit into an 87-75 win over the Sagehens to conclude the season on a high note.
After Pomona-Pitzer built an early 16-8 lead, Head Coach Jim Ducey called a timeout to settle down his Redlands squad. On the Bulldogs' ensuing possession, sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) set the tone for a comeback with a nothing-but-net three-pointer with 14:38 left in the first half.
Nearly three minutes later, junior guard Kyle Husselin (Tamuning, Guam) turned a second-chance opportunity into a trey-ball of his own, as freshman guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) pulled in the offensive board and dished out the assist. With the Sagehens still out of synch, Redlands took full advantage and drained another three-pointer, with senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) knocking this one down off of a pass from sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ). With 10:39 remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs owned a slight 17-16 advantage.
After the teams traded buckets through the 5:04-mark, freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) initiated an 18-7 Bulldog run with a three-pointer off of a Sponheim assist. Sponheim followed suit from downtown by draining not one, not two, but three-consecutive three-pointers to make it a 38-30 ball game with 2:33 remaining in the first half.
Junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) capped off the Maroon and Gray's scoring surge with a pair of buckets from beyond the arc, including one at the buzzer, to send his team into the locker room with a 44-32 lead.
From here, the Bulldogs took care of business to stay ahead of the Sagehens and eventually haul in the much-needed win. Although the home team cut it to three at the 10:29-mark, Redlands looked to Baker and Milligan to drain well-timed trey-balls. In addition, the Maroon and Gray impressed from the stripe, converting 10 of 11 second-half opportunities, including all six in the final eight minutes of the game.
Sponheim found the zone for a 9-for-11 night, including five three-pointers, for a career-high 26 points. Milligan added 19 points in his final game as a Bulldog, while O'Brien and Baker combined for 23 points. Baker also nabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.
Redlands finishes out the campaign with an 8-17 overall record and a 4-12 conference mark to finish ninth in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings.