In the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) regular-season finale, the University of Redlands men's basketball team cruised to a 72-56 victory over the University of La Verne on Tuesday night inside Currier Gym. Prior to the tip-off, the Bulldogs honored lone senior guard Joey Sponheim (Redlands, CA) for his four-year contribution to the team.
The Maroon and Gray jumped on the Leopards from the opening whistle, gaining a 10-0 lead by the 17:18-mark in the first half. On the Bulldogs' next possession, Sponheim stepped behind the three-point line for a trey to make it 13-2.
Redlands' advantage continued to grow, as first-year guard Gary Menary (Grass Valley, CA) and junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) scored on consecutive buckets to make it 17-2. Despite a score on the other end by the Leopards, D. Menary knocked down another mid-range jumper for a 19-4 lead with 14:23 left in the half.
By the 8:23-mark, Redlands built a 33-13 lead that culminated in a fast-break layup from D. Menary. The next time down the court, he dropped in another layup for his seventh-consecutive point to help put the Bulldogs up by 22. With constant pressure on the defensive end, the Maroon and Gray headed into the halftime break with a comfortable 45-23 advantage.
However, the Leopards came out of the break on a 10-0 run to cut their deficit to 32-45. After the home team's advantage shrank to 11 points, D. Menary caught fire once again by scoring eight points in less than a two-minute span to make it 57-38 with 10:46 left on the clock.
The Bulldogs gained their largest lead of the game at 66-39 with 6:24 to go.
Just over a minute later, Sponheim connected on an and-one bucket to make it 69-42 with the made free-throw. From here, the Bulldogs maintained control for the 72-56 victory.
D. Menary registered a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. Sophomore guard Michael Hanna (Murrieta, CA) and G. Menary finished with 11 points apiece, while Sponheim provided nine points, seven boards, and three steals in his final outing on Gary Smith Court.
As a team, the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Leopards, 45-36, and also earned 20 points off of turnovers.
Redlands (15-10, 10-6 SCIAC) concludes the regular season in fourth place in the final SCIAC standings. The Bulldogs head to top-seeded and 14th-ranked Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the semifinal of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament on Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m.