The University of Redlands men's basketball team headed to Whittier College for the Purple & Gold Classic on Thursday to face the Linfield College (OR) Wildcats in a non-conference showdown. Despite holding a halftime advantage, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain their momentum in the second stanza and fell by a score of 58-70.
Play was fairly even for the first few minutes of the game, with both teams exchanging multiple buckets. At the 9:38-mark, the Bulldogs faced a slight hole at 14-18 but quickly answered with a 12-2 run. Sophomore guard Trevor Baker (Phoenix, AZ) started the offensive spurt by draining a trey off of a quick pass from sophomore forward Trevor Brown (San Mateo, CA). Freshman forward David Menary (San Rafael, CA) followed suit by converting two points with a lay-up, which was complemented by another quick Baker lay-up.
Redlands continued to capitalize when freshman forward Brittain Foster (Long Beach, CA) sunk one from the charity stripe.
Junior forward Blake O'Brien (Sammamish, WA) joined the scoring action as he hit a nothing-but-net jumper. O'Brien then snatched the subsequent rebound, which turned into yet another Baker lay-up.
After Linfield converted its next shot, O'Brien dished out a beautiful pass to Baker, who hit a huge three-pointer to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night at 29-20.
Redlands entered halftime with a six-point lead at 32-26.
O'Brien was not done with his scoring exhibition, as he converted the Maroon and Gray's first second-half points with a lofty bucket from beyond the arc to put Redlands ahead by nine at the 18:23-mark.
However, in the ensuing seven minutes, Linfield regrouped to take advantage of the Bulldogs' miscues and eventually equalized the score at 42 with 11:27 left in the game.
The Wildcats continued to roll and refused to hand over the lead for the rest of the game.
Despite Baker's impressive, team-high 24 points, the Bulldogs' effort ended in a 58-70 defeat to the Wildcats. Baker went 9-for-17 from the field, with six of those coming from beyond the arc. O'Brien added a season-high 15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, and two assists.
The Bulldogs (3-5) return to Whittier for the second day of the Purple & Gold Classic, as they take on the La Sierra University Golden Eagles in a 2 p.m. tip-off on Friday, December 30.