U of R Men's Basketball Pushes past Cal Lutheran in Exciting Road-Win, 77-65

Photo credit: Bre O'Dea
Photo credit: Bre O'Dea

The University of Redlands men's basketball team took to the road for an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) battle against the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University on Wednesday evening.  With first-year forward Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA) pouring in a career-high 21 points, the Bulldogs returned from Thousand Oaks with a solid 77-65 victory.

Early on, the teams kept things close until Cal Lutheran hit a three-pointer at the 12:48-mark of the first half to earn a slight 13-8 lead.

Nonetheless, three possessions later, first-year guard Colin Au (Rolling Hills Estates, CA) delivered a dime of a pass to junior guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) on the perimeter, where Berry knocked down a trey-ball to make it a two-point game.

As the teams continued to go toe-to-toe, Redlands looked to Berry to come up with another big bucket, which moved his team within one at 20-21 with 6:11 left in the first half. 

Although Cal Lutheran answered with a quick six-point run to earn its largest advantage of the night at 27-20, the Bulldogs turned it up late in the frame to regain the lead by the end of the first.  Senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) sliced and diced his way to the basket for a pair of layups while tough defense minimized the Kingsmen's opportunities on the other end.  Senior guard Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) reentered the game with 1:21 on the clock and immediately converted a three and a jumper to put the Bulldogs back up at 30-29.  G. Menary's late three-pointer off junior guard Thomas Scriven's (Anaheim, CA) assist sent the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 33-32 advantage.

After a back-and-forth start to the second half, the Maroon and Gray turned a 52-all tie into a 10-point lead at 64-54 by the 3:30-mark. Sponheim got things rolling with another creative layup before junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) scored a shot of the glass for the and-one play.  Following a pair of Kingsmen free-throws, Berry drove the lane for a bucket before Sponheim converted on back-to-back possessions, as highlighted by a huge three-pointer off sophomore forward Spencer Bandow's (Covina, CA) assist.  Between his shots, Sponheim pickpocketed the Kingsmen for the well-timed steal.

Late in the contest, G. Menary provided the hot hand with six consecutive points to keep the Bulldogs up by 10 at 70-60 with 45 seconds left on the clock.  The Kingsmen managed to cut it to seven but were forced to foul, as time was not on their side.  Cal Lutheran sent Berry, Bandow, graduate student guard Kyle Hamane (Pasadena, CA), and Sponheim to the stripe, where they collectively went 7-for-8 to seal the deal on the Maroon and Gray's 77-65 victory. 

With the win, Redlands halts its recent three-game skid and moves into the middle of the pack of the SCIAC standings.

In addition to his 21 points, G. Menary provided nine rebounds, one steal, and one block.  Sponheim added 18 points and three steals, while D. Menary tossed in 14 points.  Berry led the Bulldog bench with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Bulldogs (7-7, 2-3 SCIAC) host the Caltech Beavers on Monday, January 14, at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.