Second-Half Rally Falls Short, Bulldog Men's Basketball Stumbles to Occidental
Despite overcoming a slow start that resulted in a 13-point halftime deficit, the University of Redlands men's basketball team suffered a 53-55 loss to the Tigers of Occidental College in tonight's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown. Just days after defeating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges for the first time in three years, the Bulldogs endured a less than stellar performance by their offense to rally back in the second stanza but ultimately fell short in the waning seconds.
The Bulldogs missed their first five shots of the game until sophomore guard Brian Kuklok (Poway, CA) nailed a jumper with 15:17 to go in the opening half. From here, Kuklok carried the Maroon and Gray by scoring the first 10 points for Redlands.
Finally, senior guard Kent Ervin (Bend, OR) and senior center Jordan Sanvictores (Redwood City, CA) chipped in two points apiece before Kuklok knocked down a three-pointer to finish the half with 13 points.
Down by 13 at the start of the second, Redlands put together an 18-3 run to nab the lead at 35-33 with less than 11 minutes to play. Consecutive three-pointers by sophomore guard Tristan Kirk (Redlands, CA) and senior guard Stephen Call (Portola Valley, CA) gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
A back-and-forth battle ensued with neither team gaining more than a three-point advantage through the final whistle.
With time winding down and the score tied, Ervin sank his second free throw to garner a slight Bulldog lead at 49-48.
The Tigers quickly answered with a jumper by sophomore forward Deshun McCoy (Los Angeles, CA) but senior center Andrew Mills (Newcastle, WA) came up with a fade-away to give Redlands the one-point edge with 1:13 to play.
However, Oxy's junior forward Jake Copithorne (Newton Centre, MA) equalized Mills' efforts with a jumper of his own.
A costly Maroon and Gray turnover led to a foul, sending McCoy to the line where he hit both buckets for the three-point lead with only 24 seconds left.
A helpful call by the officials sent Kirk to the line and he nailed them both to cut the Bulldogs' deficit to one.
Forced to foul, Redlands held its collective breath with freshman forward Kris Montoya (Portland, OR) at the charity stripe. He converted only the back end of his two opportunities, making it 55-53 for the Tigers.
With 17 seconds left on the clock, Head Coach Jim Ducey called a timeout to talk over the Bulldogs' next move. The inbounds play struggled to formulate against a double-team defense by Oxy. Attempting to drive the basket, Kirk fell to the floor as he bounced the ball off the defenders' legs to maintain possession.
Now with only eight seconds, Kirk received the pass and drove the hole but missed the game-tying shot. Oxy's freshman forward Ty Cobb (Menlo Park, CA) nabbed the rebound but Kirk also got his hands on it, forcing the jump ball in favor of the Bulldogs.
With less than one second on the clock, a high toss to Sanvictores allowed him to flick the ball toward the basket as time expired but to no avail, leaving the Maroon and Gray with the difficult loss.
Kuklok led all Redlands scorers with 16 points, including four baskets from downtown. Kirk chipped in 10 points, making seven of his eight free-throw attempts, as the only other double-digit performer for the Bulldogs.
Occidental (9-10, 3-5 SCIAC) gained a game-high 19 points from Montoya, while Drew Dockweiler came off the bench for 16 points and seven rebounds.
After shooting an abysmal 19.2% in the first half, Redlands mustered a 55.0% showing in the second stanza.
The Tigers shot 40.9% overall, including a 57.1% display from beyond the arc. Oxy also won the rebounding battle with a 10-board advantage.
Redlands (9-10, 6-2 SCIAC) looks to rebound on Saturday when it faces Caltech at 7 p.m. as part of a SCIAC doubleheader with the women, who tip off at 5 p.m. against the Beavers.