U of R Men’s Basketball Hangs on for 62-61 Victory over Beloit in Thrilling Finish

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The University of Redlands men's basketball team wrapped up its mid-season, non-conference slate with an exciting 62-61 victory over the visiting Buccaneers of Beloit College (WI) on Monday afternoon.  After leading by as many as 13 points, the Bulldogs halted the visitors' comeback en route to the Maroon and Gray's third win in its last four games.

Similar to Saturday's showdown against Calvin College (MI), Redlands came out on fire, knocking down four of its first five shots, including three-pointers by senior forward Eric Radford (Federal Way, WA) and senior guard Alex Rudd (St. Louis, MO).  This early spurt gave the Bulldogs a 10-5 lead less than four minutes into the action.

Minutes later, Rudd capped off a solid run of points for the Bulldogs, nailing a shot from beyond the arc to make it 25-16 with 7:56 to go. 

However, the Buccaneers closed out the half with a 14-7 run of their own, making it a two-point game at 30-32 when the teams retreated to the locker room.   Steve McAfee fired off two of his four first-half three-pointers in the final two minutes to lead his team in the rally.

Nonetheless, Redlands started the second stanza much like it began the game, knocking down big shots right out of the gate.  Senior guard Ricky Peetz (Redlands, CA) came out with a three-pointer before Radford took advantage of a Buccaneer turnover and converted a long bucket of his own.

With 17:06 left in the half, Peetz's pull-away jumper made it a 10-point game once again for the Maroon and Gray.

The Bulldogs' lead hovered right around eight or nine points for much of the next 13 minutes, but then Beloit uncorked six unanswered points to cut the deficit to three at 55-58 with 51 seconds left on the clock. 

Forced to foul, the Buccaneers sent Rudd to the charity stripe.  After he missed the shot, Radford flew in to grab a huge offensive board with 37 seconds to go.

Another foul sent Rudd back to the free-throw line, but this time he hit them both for a 60-55 lead.

However, McAfee stepped up for his sixth three-pointer of the game, making it a one possession game.

Again, a Beloit foul sent Redlands to the charity stripe, with senior guardKendel Glapion (San Francisco, CA) taking care of business on both attempts.

But, with 14 seconds remaining, Buccaneer James Lazarcik worked his way into the paint for a successful and-one play. 

Now leading by only one, Redlands needed to get the ball into play and just hang on, but a questionable turnover gave possession back to the Buccaneers, who managed to fire off one more shot from beyond the arc at the buzzer.  But the shot fell short, giving the Bulldogs the exciting 62-61 victory.

Rudd led the Maroon and Gray with 17 points off the bench, knocking down four three-pointers for the Maroon and Gray.  He also pulled in eight rebounds, recorded two steals, and added one block.

In addition, Peetz contributed 12 points and five rebounds, while Radford tallied 10 points and six boards.

For Beloit (4-6), McAfee carried his team with an impressive 10-for-13 effort to lead all players with 29 points.  He converted six of his seven shots from beyond the arc. 

Furthermore, Lazarcik controlled the paint with 18 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.  He chipped in 12 points and dished out four assists as well. 

Redlands (5-6, 1-1 SCIAC) resumes Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Sat., Jan. 4, when it travels to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for a 5 p.m. showdown with the Sagehens.