The University of Redlands men's basketball team faced off against the Loggers of the University of Puget Sound (WA) to close out the MacArthur Classic in Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday night. Incredibly, the Bulldogs' 61.2% shooting performance was not enough to match the Loggers' 24 three-pointers in an otherwise even showdown, as UPS sent Redlands home with a disappointing 112-118 defeat.
Redlands opened the contest with a 9-2 run that included four different scorers. Senior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) initiated the Bulldogs' offense by converting a bucket off of an assist by junior guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) before O'Brien dished out a dime of a pass to sophomore forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) for the lay-up. After knocking down his first of five three-pointers on the night, Baker pick-pocketed the Loggers to set up a sweet bucket by first-year guard Jacob Russell (Boise, ID).
However, UPS rallied right back to tie it up at 14 less than five minutes into the first half.
Over the next eight minutes, the score remained close, with neither squad gaining more than a four-point lead. The Bulldogs continued to rely on a diverse line-up, with multiple combinations gaining points. By the time, the score was 31-32, seven different Bulldogs had contributed at least two points, with junior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) knocking down a three-ball and a lay-up.
The back-and-forth action of the contest resulted in another tie at 42 with 3:45 left in the first half. A pair of Baker free-throws put Redlands up but the lead was short-lived as the Loggers answered with a three-pointer. Nonetheless, first-year forward Jordan Holden (Anaheim, CA) found an open sophomore guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) beyond the arc on the Maroon and Gray's ensuing possession.
Neither team would give an inch in this battle, as the buzzer sounded for halftime and UPS led by a score of 56-53.
However, the second half began with 17-5 run for the Loggers that forced Redlands into a significant hole with 16:17 to go in the game. Four minutes later, the Bulldogs trailed by 16 and faced an uphill battle with time running out.
But by the 6:47-mark of the game, Redlands had cut it to three at 95-98 as a result of stifling defense, relentless rebounding, and big-time buckets. Aside from multiple steals by Menary, the Bulldogs gained a huge scoring effort by Baker that included 13 points in this stretch. But the Bulldogs' rally would not have been possible without three-pointers from sophomore forward Jesse Wims (London, England), O'Brien, and Sponheim, as well as stellar assists from a variety of Bulldogs.
As the Loggers stayed hot beyond the arc, the Maroon and Gray matched them with successful drives to the basket and late free-throws. Tied at 109 with 1:46 remaining, UPS made back-to-back lay-ups, as Redlands' offense finally went cold, which forced the Maroon and Gray to foul. The Loggers responded with five made attempts at the charity stripe for the eventual win.
Baker finished with a career-high 36 points, which came off of 50% shooting and included five three-pointers. Sponheim added 21 points and three assists, while Menary scored 15 points. Berry impressed off the bench with 11 points in just 16 minutes of action.
Redlands (0-2) returns home to the friendly confines of Currier Gym on Wednesday, November 22, for a 2 p.m. rematch with the UPS Loggers.