The University of Redlands men's basketball team returned home to Currier Gym on Wednesday to face Chapman University in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game. After trailing by as many as 14 points, the Bulldogs clawed their way back with a late push in the final five minutes but came up short by a final score of 69-76.
Now tied at seven apiece, Redlands orchestrated an 8-2 run to earn its largest lead of the night with 10:47 left in the first half. After senior guard Kyle Husslein (Tamuning, Guam) scored the Maroon and Gray's first three points of the offensive spurt, sophomore guard Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) drove the lane for a lay-up. On Redlands' subsequent possession, first-year guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) found an open Sponheim for the trey-ball to make it 15-9 for the home team.
Although the Bulldogs stayed in front over the next few minutes, Chapman managed to take the lead at 18-17 with 6:26 left in the frame.
Nonetheless, Landolf and sophomore forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) converted two shots, while the Maroon and Gray's stifling defense kept Chapman off-balanced. With sophomore guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) staying strong in the paint, he hauled in his own offensive board for the eventual lay-up and Redlands' 25-20 lead with 3:58 left in the stanza.
However, a quick scoring outburst by Chapman sent the teams into the locker room with the visitors' owning a 31-28 advantage.
Redlands came out firing in the second half, with Hanna and Husslein scoring buckets to put their team in front, 32-31.
Nevertheless, well-timed three-pointers by the Panthers put the Bulldogs back in catch-up mode over the next five minutes. A jumper by Sponheim cut the Bulldogs' deficit to one at 40-41 with 15:08 but that was as close as they would get.
Down by 11 with 4:32 to go, Menary converted a pair of free throws before pickpocketing the opponent for the steal. After he sent the ball ahead to Hanna on the fast break, Hanna returned the favor with the assist on Menary's lay-up to make it 54-61.
Another quick steal by Husslein allowed him to about-face and drive the lane for another Bulldog bucket, which cut the deficit to five.
Amazingly, Chapman managed to stretch its late lead to 14 points on quality shooting, as turnovers and fouls plagued the Bulldogs.
Regardless, Redlands fought back again when Hanna connected with Foster, who laid it up and in for two points. Husslein converted a jumper with 53 seconds remaining before hauling in another steal. He found Berry on the run for a quick lay-up. The offense stayed hot, with Husslein finding Berry on the perimeter for a three-pointer, as Sponheim sank two of three final free throws.
But, Chapman took care of business at the charity stripe as well, leading to the Bulldogs' seven-point defeat.
Menary posted a game-high 16 points, which came off of 5-for-11 shooting. He also tallied four rebounds, four steals, and two blocks in a well-rounded effort. Husslein chipped in 12 points, three rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Berry and Sponheim each added nine points for the Bulldogs. Hanna offered six rebounds, five assists, and seven points.
Redlands (5-15, 3-8 SCIAC) welcomes Pomona-Pitzer Colleges to Currier Gym on Saturday, February 3, for a 2 p.m. tip-off against the Sagehens.