The University of Redlands men's basketball team squared off against top-ranked Whitman College in non-conference action on Thursday afternoon in Currier Gym. Despite a solid effort that included double-figure scoring by four of their starters, the Bulldogs fell short of the upset in a 93-119 decision.
Redlands came out firing to take an early 6-0 lead off of back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore forward Jesse Wims (London, England).
However, Whitman answered with a 10-0 run before Redlands' junior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) stepped back for a swishing three-ball off of an assist by senior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam).
The high-paced, high-flying offense continued on both ends, with Husslein and Sponheim scoring buckets for the Bulldogs. But the Blues managed to stay hot from beyond the arc and raced out to a 22-14 lead with 14:07 left on the first-half clock.
Redlands worked to keep its deficit in the single digits with key buckets by first-year guard Jacob Russell (Boise, ID), sophomore forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA), and sophomore guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA). When faced with a 10-point hole at the 11:39-mark, the Bulldogs went on a 9-4 run that was capped off by first-year forward Jordan Holden's (Anaheim, CA) lay-up off of junior guard Trevor Baker's (Phoenix, AZ) dime of a pass. A few minutes later, Holden converted two free-throws to make it 31-35 but the Blues quickly responded to eventually build a 59-47 advantage at the halftime break.
Early in the second half, Sponheim's three-pointer made it a 10-point game once again before senior forward Blake O'Brien's (Sammamish, WA)) lay-up cut it to nine with 14:23 remaining.
But every spurt of hope was quickly squelched by Whitman's proficient offense.
Down by 27 with five minutes to go, Redlands continued to fight, as Menary dished out a pass across the arc to first-year guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA), who sank a shot from downtown. On Whitman's ensuing possession, Menary nabbed a steal, which led to a foul and a pair of made free-throws. After Hanna pulled in the defensive rebound off of Whitman's subsequent missed shot, Menary drove the lane for the bucket before Berry converted a jumper to make it 90-107.
Unfortunately for Redlands, the late run was not enough, as Whitman continued to score to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
Wims paced the Maroon and Gray with 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting. He also hauled in five rebounds. Sponheim converted four three-pointers en route to a 15-point effort that included four assists and three rebounds. Menary, Baker, and Berry rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Maroon and Gray by combining for 34 points.
Redlands (2-6) faces the Fighting Scots of Gordon College (MA) on Thursday, December 28, at 2 p.m. in Currier Gym.