The University of Redlands men's basketball team took an early lead and never looked back in an 83-55 victory to complete Maroon and Gray's road-sweep of the University of La Verne on Saturday evening. With the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) win, the Bulldogs moved up to fourth place in the conference standings with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Earlier in the day, the Bulldog women's basketball team also defeated the Leopards.
In the men's game, the Leopards opened the scoring, but the Bulldogs quickly erased the deficit with six collective points from junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) and first-year guard Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA) in less than two minutes. Shortly after, D. Menary grabbed a defensive rebound and eventually capitalized with another jumper to make it 8-5. Senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) turned a Leopard turnover into a layup on the other end to culminate a strong offensive surge to begin the game.
Although a La Verne three-pointer cut the gap to two, D. Menary once again stepped up with an old-fashioned three-point play to lend the Bulldogs a 13-8 advantage at the 14:32-mark.
As the teams traded buckets, La Verne eventually gained the lead with a three-pointer to make it 16-15 with 9:07 left in the half. That proved to be the last time the Leopards would lead the game, as Redlands raised the bar on both ends of the floor. Sophomore forward Spencer Bandow (Covina, CA) scored on back-to-back baskets that sparked a 9-0 Bulldog run for their 24-16 advantage with 6:53 left in the first half.
Sponheim, who capped Redlands' previous run with a three-pointer, hit another one just over a minute later to grow another nine-point lead at 29-20 with 5:42 remaining. Although the Leopards knocked down a pair of free throws, D. Menary answered with a deep-ball for the Bulldogs' first double-digit lead of the game at 32-22 with 4:55 to go.
The Leopards looked to the perimeter to try to counter the Redlands attack and successfully converted three treys in the final four minutes. But, the Maroon and Gray hit two of its own buckets from deep down the stretch to take a 44-31 lead into the halftime break.
Redlands remained hot early in the second half, with sophomore guard Michael Hanna's (Murrieta, CA) three-pointer igniting a 7-0 run to make it 51-31 less than two minutes in.
The Bulldogs' impressive defense was in full effect through the entirety of the second half, which limited the Leopards to only 24 points. La Verne was held without a field goal for over an 11-minute span, allowing the Bulldogs to power to a 69-40 advantage with 4:28 left on the clock.
Redlands continued to roll, as first-year guard Colin Au (Rolling Hills Estates, CA) and sophomore guard Christopher Larkins (Silver Spring, MD) came off the bench to close the game with jumpers and send the Maroon and Gray home with a dominating 83-55 victory.
Menary led all scorers with 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field. Sponheim provided 14 points and six assists, while Hanna turned in a strong game with a near double-double off 11 points and nine rebounds.
As a team, the Bulldogs out-paced the Leopards, 45-29, in the rebound battle and also forced them into 15 turnovers for 27 points in return. The Maroon and Gray dominated the paint with a 42-14 advantage.
Redlands (10-7, 5-3 SCIAC) continues its three-game road stretch with a contest against Whittier College on Wednesday, January 23, at 7 p.m.