Second-Half Surge Fizzles Out in Bulldog Men's Basketball's Loss to CMS Stags

Photo credit: Chelsea Rex
Photo credit: Chelsea Rex

The University of Redlands men's basketball team continued its busy first week of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Thursday with a quality match-up against the visiting Stags of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.  The Bulldogs fought to overcome a 14-point deficit midway through the second half but struggled to maintain that high level of play against the long-range arsenal of the opponents, resulting in a free-throw induced 59-75 loss.

Redlands jumped out to an immediate 4-0 lead on baskets by junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) and sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ).

The Bulldogs remained hot to make it 13-5 with 12:01 left in the first half, as junior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) and senior forward Sean Milligan (Portland, OR) joined the scoring spree.

However, CMS answered from downtown to even the tally at 17-all with 6:19 left on the clock.

But O'Brien stepped back for a trey-ball of his own off of a dime of pass from Husslein to give Redlands a slight 20-17 advantage. The Bulldogs' next basket also came from beyond the arc, with sophomore guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) hitting this one off of a Baker pass to keep them in front, 23-22.

Nonetheless, the Stags erupted for a 5-0 run to close out the half with a four-point advantage at the break.

Early in the second stanza, the momentum stayed with the visiting squad, which quickly earned a 14-point advantage at 43-29.

Head Coach Jim Ducey looked to his bench for a spark and got one from sophomore guard Jacob Forte (Lake Elsinore, CA), sophomore forward Trevor Brown (San Mateo, CA), and junior guard Wyatt Pannabecker (Choteau, MT), as each contributed to the team's 18-3 run to finally regain the lead.  Forte found freshman forward Jesse Wims (London, England) on an open three, before Milligan converted an and-one play on a driving basket through the lane.  Two plays later, Milligan connected with Brown for the inside bucket to make it a three-point game.  Brown repeated the effort off of a sweet pass from Sponheim, who also kept the pressure on the Stags with another successful lay-up on Redlands' ensuing possession.  Following Brown's big-time defensive board, Pannabecker fed Wims in the paint to put the Bulldogs in front for the first time in the second half at 47-46 with 7:29 remaining.

Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gray, CMS' ensuing timeout proved to be lucrative, as the Stags erupted for an 18-3 run of their own to secure a sizeable advantage that held up through the buzzer.

Redlands played the fouling game in the final few minutes, but the visitors took care of business at the charity stripe for the win. 

Milligan and Baker each dropped in 12 points, while Baker added seven rebounds and Milligan dished out four assists.  O'Brien and Sponheim each chipped in nine points for the Bulldogs

Redlands (4-7, 0-2 SCIAC) heads to Chapman University on Saturday, January 7, for a 4 p.m. showdown against the Panthers.