The University of Redlands men's basketball team made the short trek to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday for an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against the Stags. Despite leading for nearly 30 minutes of the contest, the Bulldogs struggled late against the home team's perimeter shooting and suffered a difficult 70-81 loss.
Redlands stormed out to a 9-0 lead, with sophomore guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) delivering assists on the first three buckets. During this hot start, the Bulldogs gained points from junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA), sophomore forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA), first-year guard/forward Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA), and senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA). A minute later, Landolf found sophomore forward Spencer Bandow (Covina, CA) for a nothing-but-net three-pointer to make it 12-2 for the Maroon and Gray.
Although CMS countered to cut the deficit to four points, the Bulldogs answered with another trey-ball, as G. Menary dished out the assist for his brother David with 11:57 remaining in the first half.
By the 7:47-mark, Redlands owned its largest lead of the night at 26-13, thanks in part to tough defense by Hanna and junior guard Thomas Scriven (Anaheim, CA), who forced the Stags into costly turnovers. In addition, Sponheim and Landolf each converted a bucket from downtown to keep CMS at bay.
Although D. Menary hit a three-pointer with 4:37 to go, Redlands saw its lead dwindle down to six by the end of the first half.
With key plays by Landolf, Hanna, and Bandow early in the second stanza, the Bulldogs stayed in front, as G. Menary's three-pointer at the 15:07-mark extended their lead back to 10 points at 46-36.
Nonetheless, the Stags worked to cut the deficit and eventually made it 43-46 before junior guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) knocked down a three-pointer for the Maroon and Gray. Berry's immediate layup put Redlands up by a score of 51-45, but the Stags' perimeter offense found its rhythm and orchestrated an 8-0 run to earn their first lead of the night with 10:31 remaining.
From here, CMS unleashed an impressive shooting percentage, as highlighted by a 5-for-7 showing from deep in the second half, while taking advantage of the Bulldogs' late-game miscues. Despite points from Berry, G. Menary, and Sponheim in the final few minutes, it was not enough for Redlands to make up the difference, as the Bulldogs headed home with a 70-81 loss.
Sponheim led the Maroon and Gray with 16 points, as Berry came off the bench for 13 points. G. Menary added 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while Landolf scored 10 points.
With tonight's result, Redlands (11-8, 6-4 SCIAC) slips into fourth place in the SCIAC but remains within striking distance of the top three. The Bulldogs face a big test on Wednesday, January 30, when they host the conference-leading Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.