In front of a frenzied crowd inside Currier Gym on Saturday night, junior forward David Menary (Grass Valley, CA) sank a game-winning jumper to lift the University of Redlands men's basketball team to a crucial, 97-96 triple-overtime victory over Chapman University. As a result, the Bulldogs remain in fourth place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament picture.
The Panthers controlled the game early on by knocking down five three-pointers to take a 19-11 lead after eight minutes of action. Sophomore forward Parker Landolf (Alamo, CA) and junior guard Hass Berry (Riverside, CA) drained treys of their own to cut the deficit to 17-19 at the 10:52-mark in the half.
Over the next several possessions, the Maroon and Gray tied the game on two separate occasions, once off a jumper from first-year wing Gary Menary(Grass Valley, CA) to even the tally at 21 and then off his brother's bucket to knot it up at 23-apiece with 6:22 left in the half.
With two and a half minutes to go in the frame, the Panthers pulled ahead by three points. This time, sophomore forward Spencer Bandow (Covina, CA) stepped behind the perimeter to drain a game-tying trey to put the score at 28-all. Chapman closed the half with four free-throws to hold a slim 32-31 lead at the break.
After two lead changes and two ties in the opening two minutes of the second half, D. Menary and Berry connected on consecutive three-pointers for a 41-35 Bulldog lead with 16:35 on the clock. The trend continued for the majority of the half, as the teams worked to another stalemate at 66-all with less than four minutes to go in regulation.
The Maroon and Gray created some breathing room with a tough layup from D. Menary to go up by three. Once the Panthers came back to within one, G. Menary hit a clutch jumper out of a timeout to put the Bulldogs in front, 72-69, with 31 seconds left.
Nonetheless, Chapman tied the game up with a huge three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining. Redlands attempted a last-second shot, but to no avail.
The back-and-forth battle continued through the first overtime, with the Maroon and Gray taking the third lead change of the stanza on a D. Menary jumper to make it 80-78 with just over a minute left After discussing the ensuing play in a timeout, the Panthers hit a go-ahead trey with 25 seconds remaining. On the final possession in the overtime, Menary was fouled and knocked down one free-throw to take the teams into the second overtime.
It looked as if the Maroon and Gray was primed to pull away once Landolf's layup put the Bulldogs up 87-83 with 1:23 left, but the Panthers hit a three on the next possession to bring the lead back down to one. With 12 seconds to go, D. Menary hit another free-throw to go up 90-86, but Chapman connected on a four-point play on a desperation three-pointer to force a third overtime.
The Panthers made it on the board first in the third extra period, but Sponheim countered with a big-time three-pointer on the wing for Redlands' 93-92. However, Chapman pulled ahead once again with a pair of free-throws, but a Landolf dunk ignited the crowd and put the Bulldogs back on top, 95-94.
Despite the Panthers taking the lead again with two free-throws, Redlands designed the perfect play out of a timeout to set them up for the final shot.The Bulldogs worked the ball around the perimeter before putting the game in D. Menary's hands on the baseline. He maneuvered his way through traffic and displayed nice touch on a difficult fade-away jumper that went in all-net to cement an exciting Bulldog victory.
D. Menary led the charge with 33 points on an efficient 12-for-18 shooting from the field. He impacted the game in every area with seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. Sponheim came through when it mattered most with 17 points, nine assists, and four steals. Landolf also made a big impact in the win with 15 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. Berry provided a much-needed spark off the bench with 16 points, four assists, and two steals.
Redlands (12-10, 7-6 SCIAC) looks to carry its momentum into a critical SCIAC contest against Cal Lutheran University at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, in Currier Gym.