The University of Redlands men's basketball team continued Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Wednesday night by squaring off against the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens in the friendly confines of Currier Gym. With a steady dose of offense and a strong defensive series, the Bulldogs hauled in a crucial victory by the final score of 66-58.
Senior forward Al Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) kicked off the scoring for the Bulldogs early on by punching a ticket to the charity stripe for two points. After two-consecutive scoring possessions, the Bulldogs distanced themselves with senior center Shawn James' (Plano, TX) triple for an early 9-4 lead with 17:46 remaining in the opening frame.
Sophomore guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) continued the long-distance shooting trend by snapping the bottom of the net with a triple to maintain a three-point lead. Bjekovic added a three-pointer shortly after, while James drilled a jumper at the halfway mark of the first half. Husslein and Bjekovic teamed up for two-consecutive buckets in the latter minutes of the first frame for Redlands' 27-26 advantage at halftime.
Bulldog scoring came at will in the opening minutes of the second stanza, as junior guard Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) kicked off the final 20 minutes by flushing a three. Bjekovic backed him with a trey-ball two possessions later, which was assisted by senior forward Kyle Milligan (Portland, OR). K. Milligan then continued to chip in on the scoring front by banking in two points off the glass to hand the Bulldogs a 39-34 advantage with 15:18 remaining.
After the Bulldogs were tied approaching the 10-minute mark, Bjekovic took control of the contest by displaying a wide arsenal of scoring abilities that the Sagehens could not handle. From the 12:34-mark on, he went 10-for-10 from the line, tossed up two clean lay-ups, and hit two shots from downtown en route to the Maroon and Gray's 66-58 victory.
Bjekovic finished with 32 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Overall, he was a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe and 4-for-9 from downtown.
Husslein chipped in 10 points, while James contributed nine points off the pine.
The Bulldogs (9-10, 5-5 SCIAC) face off against the Caltech Beavers (7-12, 5-5) in conference action on Monday, February 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Currier Gym.