In the Bulldogs' return to Currier Gym on Monday night, senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) lit up the scoreboard for a game-leading 23 points to not only help his team secure a 63-52 victory over the visiting Caltech Beavers but to also sketch his name into the University of Redlands men's basketball record books as a 1,000-point scorer.
To begin Sponheim's historic night, he knocked in the Bulldogs' inaugural field-goal for an early lead. By the 13-minute mark of the first half, Redlands owned an 11-2 advantage, thanks in part to sophomore forward Spencer Bandow's (Covina, CA) three-pointer and junior wing Brittian Foster's (Long Beach, CA) layup.
About three minutes later, Sponheim blocked a shot on one end and stepped behind the arc on the other for his first three-pointer of the game to put the home team up by 10.
Although Caltech cut to seven, Redlands pushed the lead back to 19-7 with just under nine minutes remaining, as junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) and Sponheim hit shots on back-to-back possessions.
After the Beavers called a timeout, they went on a 10-4 run to slim the lead down to six points heading into the final five minutes of the half. The Bulldogs got the stop they needed with a block from D. Menary, which sparked a defensive surge that limited the Beavers for several possessions.
But Caltech found its groove late in the frame and eventually tied the game at 23-all with just over a minute to go.
With D. Menary and Sponheim teaming up on offense again, the Bulldogs entered halftime with a 27-23 advantage. Defensively, first-year guard Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA) provided a well-timed block to keep the Beavers off the board late in the half.
At the start of the second half, D. Menary scored the opening bucket, but the Beavers continued to fight and eventually earned a 35-31 lead, which was their largest of the game, at the 15:27 mark.
However, Redlands quickly regained control of the contest, as first-year guard Colin Au (Rolling Hills Estates, CA) converted a tough and-one basket to knot the game at 35-35.
From then on, the Maroon and Gray offense was in full effect, as Sponheim scored six-consecutive points for the Maroon and Gray's 45-40 lead with 9:05 left on the clock.
Out of a timeout later in the stanza, the Bulldogs locked down on the defensive end and did not give up a field-goal for four-and-a-half minutes. In addition, Sponheim continued to find the open look for late buckets while G. Menary's layup gave Redlands its largest lead at 63-47 with 2:12 remaining.
Despite Caltech's five-point surge in the final 60 seconds, the Bulldogs scored twice more down the stretch to cement a 63-52 victory.
The Maroon and Gray's new 1000-point scorer, Sponheim, led the game with 23 points and added three rebounds, two assists, and a block. He enjoyed an efficient night from downtown with a 4-of-5 clip. Sponheim now has 1,017 points in his four-year career with 10 games remaining in the regular season. D. Menary chipped in 12 points, four assists, three steals, and a block, while G. Menary racked up 10 rebounds as the only player in double figures for this stat.
As a team, the Bulldogs had only six turnovers and forced 12 for 14 points in return. The Maroon and Gray also worked hard for a 12-8 offensive rebound margin, which led to 12 second-chance points.
Redlands (8-7, 3-3 SCIAC) remains at home for its next matchup on Wednesday, January 16, and squares off against Occidental College at 7 p.m.