Bulldog Men's Basketball Sails past Pacific Union College in Lee Fulmer Classic Finale

Photo credit: Talia Adams
Photo credit: Talia Adams

The University of Redlands men's basketball team closed out the 2018 Lee Fulmer Memorial Classic in fine fashion by prevailing over the Pioneers of Pacific Union College on Saturday night.  On the heels of senior guard Joey Sponheim's (Redlands, CA) career-high 35 points, the Bulldogs broke open an early tie with a double-digit run and never looked back en route to a 78-64 non-conference victory.

After the teams traded buckets for a 10-10 stalemate through the first five minutes of action, junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) stepped back for a nothing-but-net jumper, which set off a 13-point run for the Bulldogs.  Sponheim scored eight of these points while knocking down a pair of treys in the process.

Sophomore guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) joined the offensive display by sinking a three-pointer before grabbing an offensive board and banking in the layup.  Following another Sponheim three and a bucket by sophomore forward Spencer Bandow (Covina, CA), the Bulldogs owned a solid 39-24 advantage with 4:15 to go in the opening stanza. 

With made free-throws down the stretch, the Maroon and Gray headed to the locker room out in front by a score of 43-26 after shooting 51.7% overall.

Early in the second half, junior wing Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) chipped in a quality jumper, while first-year wing Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA) continued to crash the glass for key rebounds.  D. Menary and Sponheim remained a dual-threat on offense to keep Redlands in front by double digits. 

With 13:33 left in the game, first-year forward Kameron Wright (Fontana, CA) delivered a dime of a pass to junior guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA), who hit a three-pointer for Redlands' sizeable lead at 57-40.

Although Pacific Union clawed back to make it a 10-point game, the Bulldogs took care of the ball and managed the clock well in the final six minutes.  Wright added a key tip-in before sophomore forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA) converted both free-throws late to keep Redlands in control.

Overall, Sponheim scored 22 first-half points and finished the night with a career-high 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting.  He also drained five three-pointers in the process.  Menary added a 10-for-15 effort for 22 points, while G. Menary hauled in a team-high eight rebounds.

In the first game of Saturday's action, the University of St. Katherine topped Bethesda University in a 101-80 decision.  Although the Flames kept things close early on, USK turned a one-point deficit into a 54-39 lead by the 2:20-mark of the first half.  The Firebirds gained quality buckets from four players during this stretch, as highlighted by a pair of three-pointers by Robert Moss.

Although Bethesda cut it to five early in the second half, St. Katherine remained in front for the duration to secure the solid win.

USK's Kane Daniels scored 36 points in 36 minutes of action.  He went 8-for-15 from beyond the arc and 14-for-22 overall.

For Bethesda, Branden Charbonier paced the squad with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Gabriel Lemon and Dallin Takairangi combined for 37 points.

Redlands (5-2) jumps into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Wednesday, December 5, by hosting Whittier College at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.