The University of Redlands men's basketball team returned to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition by traveling to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on New Year's Day for an evening showdown. With junior guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) stepping up with a career-high nine three-pointers, the Bulldogs worked to overcome a double-digit deficit but fell short in a 90-101 decision.
Junior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) knocked down the Maroon and Gray's opening shot from beyond the arc for the visiting team's early lead. He, sophomore forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA), and first-year guard Jacob Russell (Boise, ID) teamed up for the Bulldogs' next five buckets to keep Redlands in front at 14-9 with 15:06 left in the opening half.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with sophomore forward Jesse Wims (London, England) and Baker converting three-pointers for Redlands' 23-22 advantage. Senior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) joined the offensive effort with a lay-up and one at the 8:32-mark to make it 26-24.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Pomona-Pitzer got hot from downtown and pulled away by a score of 47-35 at the midway point of the contest.
The Sagehens maintained the momentum in the second half and eventually built a 23-point lead less than two minutes into the period.
Nonetheless, Baker carried Redlands back into the contest with seven of his nine trey-balls coming in the second half. With one of his long-range buckets, the Bulldogs trailed by only 10 points with 8:20 to go. He played catalyst for the Maroon and Gray's offensive push that included 15 points by Menary and five from first-year forward Jordan Holden (Anaheim, CA) by the time the final whistle blew.
But, it was not enough, as Pomona-Pizer took care of business at the charity stripe by going 20-for-24 in the second stanza alone.
Baker finished with 32 points, including a career-high nine buckets from downtown on 50% shooting. Menary surpassed the 20-point mark for the first time in his Bulldog tenure, with tonight's performance coming at a clip of 54.5% for 22 points. Holden came off the bench for 10 points.
Redlands (3-7, 1-1 SCIAC) looks to rebound on Wednesday, January 3, when it travels to Chapman University for a 7 p.m. conference match-up against the Panthers.