Strong First Half Propels Redlands Men’s Basketball to 76-58 win over California Miramar

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The University of Redlands men's basketball team hosted two games of the 2018 Bulldog Tip-Off Classic on Friday evening, with the Bulldogs using a dominant first half to earn a 76-58 win over California Miramar University in the nightcap.  In the opening game of the tournament, Augsburg University (MN) enjoyed a big second half to defeat Ottawa University of Arizona by a score of 87-69.

After early back-and-forth action, the Bulldogs caught their stride when first-year forward Kameron Wright (Fontana, CA) found junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) for a mid-range jumper to make it 10-6.

Redlands put on a defensive display by holding CMU scoreless for more than three minutes of action. In the meantime, Redlands opened up a 10-0 run that included four different players to build a 22-10 lead. Although the Fighting Falcons managed a layup, senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) went right down on the other end for a jumper to keep the momentum with the home team.

The Bulldogs continued to roll, with Wright hitting a layup before Sponheim and graduate student Kyle Hamane (Pasadena, CA) knocked down conscutive three-pointers to push their lead to 34-15 with 6:07 to go in the first half. Junior guard Thomas Scriven (Anaheim, CA) added to the three-point barrage a few moments later. With excellent play on both ends of the court, Redlands closed out the half with a 44-22 advantage.

The Fighting Falcons came out of the gates swinging with five quick points to start the second half, but Sponheim's three-pointer lessoned the blow for the Bulldogs. After California Miramar countered with a solid 7-0 run, junior wing Brittian Foster (Long Beach, CA) converted a flashy layup before Menary executed a five-point spurt to push the score to 56-37.

The Bulldogs built their biggest lead of the night at the 5:33-mark when sophomore forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA) hit a jumper to make it 68-41.

The Fighting Falcons used a zone defense to slow down the Bulldogs and effectively moved within 18 with 1:33 left, but the Bulldogs stayed composed and walked away with a 76-58 victory in the home opener.

Menary led all scorers with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, one block, and a steal. Sponheim provided 12 points and three assists while also leading the team with three steals. Landolf offered a strong presence down low with eight points, four boards, and a block. The Bulldogs' bench out-scored the Fighting Falcons, 33-23, as Hamane and Wright led the outburst with eight points apiece. Wright also pulled down eight boards and posted a block and a steal.

As a team, the Maroon and Gray shot 40.0% while limiting CMU to 36.1% shooting. The Bulldogs shared the ball and earned a 16-8 assists margin and defensively forced 21 turnovers.

In the opening game of the Bulldog Tip-Off Classic, Augsburg and Ottawa traded buckets throughout the early part of the game, with neither team gaining more than a four-point lead.  However, the Ottawa Spirit grew a 25-22 advantage into a 32-22 lead off a pair of three-pointers and stellar defense.   

Nonetheless, Augustana quickly answered with a 14-0 run to enter the halftime break with plenty of momentum.  This carried over into the second half, which included a 54.1% shooting effort by the Auggies en route to their 87-69 win.  During the final 20 minutes, Booker Coplin, Kevin McKiernan, and Henry Mulligan remained effective and accounted for 36 of Augsburg's 51 second-half points. 

Coplin finished the night with 26 points on 11-for-20 shooting, while Mulligan and McKiernan provided 27, collectively. Coplin also hauled in 12 rebounds. For Ottawa, Dimetres Moore scored 17 points, as Brian King Jr. and Tanner Riley combined for 24 points.

The Bulldog Tip-Off Classic continues on Saturday, November 17, with California Miramar taking on Ottawa at 5 p.m. and Redlands facing Augsburg at 7 p.m.