The University of Redlands men's basketball team welcomed the Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen to Currier Gym for a Southern California Intercollegiate Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) contest on Saturday evening. Despite nearly the same numbers in all statistical categories for both teams, Redlands got ahead and stayed ahead to capture the 72-65 victory on Senior Night.
Redlands jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead behind free throws from Husslein and a successful and-one play from sophomore forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA). After the Kingsmen battled back to make it a three-point game, Husslein stepped up for the trey-ball off a nice assist from junior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA), which extended the home team's lead back to six with 14:43 left on the clock.
On Redlands' next possession, Menary pulled in his second of eight offensive rebounds before laying it up for the score. Two minutes later, O'Brien used his presence in the paint to accomplish the same feat and the 12-8 lead.
Over the next five minutes, Cal Lutheran stayed on Redlands' heels, consistently within a bucket or two.
The Bulldogs then went on a 6-2 run, thanks to a layup by first-year guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) and a jumper and layup from Husslein that stretched the advantage to nine at 33-24 with 4:45 remaining in the first half.
Although Cal Lutheran went on a 6-4 run to close out the first half, the Bulldogs remained in front by a score of 37-30 at the midway break.
After a Kingsmen three-pointer kicked off the second half, O'Brien matched it with a bucket from downtown off Husslein's dime of a pass. This inspired a great defensive stop by the Bulldogs before O'Brien found an open Hamane beyond the arc for a three-pointer. After his shot rattled through the net, the home team held a 10-point lead only two minutes into the second half.
After a couple of minutes without either team scoring, sophomore guard Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) swiped a quick steal that Hanna turned into points with a huge trey-ball off Sponheim's assist for the Maroon and Gray' 48-35 advantage. This forced Cal Lutheran to take a timeout. Redlands followed the timeout with a strong three-point play from first-year forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA) to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night at 51-35 with 14:31 left in the game.
The Kingsmen attempted to inch their way closer with a four-minute scoring spurt, but a basket from deep by Sponheim put the brakes on that for a 56-43 Bulldog advantage. Hamane served up the assist to Sponheim.
Cal Lutheran continued to battle, knocking down basket after basket to pull within one with just under three minutes to go in the game.
Successful trips to the charity stripe for Husslein and first-year guard Jacob Russell (Boise, ID) kept the home team in the lead. Hanna sealed the deal for the Maroon and Gray by sinking five of his six free throws in the final 28 seconds for the exciting, 72-65, conference win on Senior Night.
Menary recorded yet another double-double with a team-leading 20 points and an astonishing 15 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end. Husslein followed with 15 points and six rebounds. Hamane also hauled in seven boards.
Redlands (7-17, 5-10 SCIAC) heads to Occidental College on Tuesday, February 20, for the final game of the regular season. Tip-off against the Tigers is set for 7 p.m.