With senior forward Alex Rudd (St. Louis, MO) leading the way, the University of Redlands men's basketball team punished the Poets of Whittier College in Currier Gym on Saturday evening, 90-64. Rudd started the game hot and did not let up as he poured in a career-high 27 points in the important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) triumph.
Redlands senior guard Kendel Glapion (San Francisco, CA) started the game well for the Bulldogs, making an early layup to give the home squad the two-point lead. The two sides traded buckets over the next few possessions, and then U of R senior guard Ricky Peetz (Redlands, CA) drained a shot from downtown, tying the contest at 7-7.
That long-range effort started a huge offensive spurt for the Bulldogs, as less than a minute later, Peetz drained another three-pointer to put Redlands up by three. Then, after being subbed into the game, Rudd nailed a jumper and three consecutive shots from beyond the arc, bringing the Bulldog crowd to its feed and putting the U of R up, 21-7.
The Poets tried to provide an answer, scoring a few buckets of their own, but Rudd provided a quick response for the Bulldogs, nailing another shot from downtown to go along with an additional jumper.
By the halftime break, Redlands led, 40-28, behind 18 points from Rudd and nine points from Peetz. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 38.9% from the field during the first 20 minutes and 50.0% from beyond the arc. Defensively, Redlands was stifling, causing Whittier to turn the ball over on nine occasions, while holding the Poets to a 25.7% shooting effort from the field.
To begin the second stanza, the Poets (3-3, 0-1 SCIAC) tried to make a run and cut into the deficit, but for every basket Whittier scored, the Bulldogs had an answer. During that early offensive spurt for the Poets, U of R sophomore forward Aljosa Bjekovic (Maribor, Slovenia) and sophomore forward Kyle Milligan (Portland, OR) each scored to ensure the Bulldogs stayed in front.
Midway through the second stanza, Redlands hit a couple of key buckets to extend the lead. Rudd nailed a long-range effort and senior forward Eric Radford (Federal Way, WA) converted a big and-one opportunity to put the Bulldogs up by 18.
From that point on, the Bulldogs garnered solid efforts from everyone on the squad, utilizing its all of its available players en route to the 26-point victory.
In addition to Rudd's big night, Peetz added 17 points, including four shots from beyond the arc. Moreover, Bjekovic scored nine points and tallied a game-high 11 rebounds, while junior guard Marco Kengott (San Diego, CA) added a spark off the bench and went 3-for-3 from the field for six points.
As a team, Redlands shot 47.3% from the field on the night and hit 10-of-23 shots from downtown. The Bulldog defense was strong all evening long as well, holding the Poets to a 32.9% shooting effort from the field, and just a 10.7% mark from long range.
Redlands (2-5, 1-1 SCIAC) takes a break from conference play and hosts UC Santa Cruz on December 17. Tip-off in Currier Gym is scheduled for 5 p.m.