In a back-and-forth game that came down to its final seconds, the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team was unable to pull off a comeback against the Whittier Poets. Redlands lost against their SCIAC counterparts 76-72, despite scoring 42 points in the second half.
The Bulldogs were only able to muster 30 points in the first half, as they were shooting only 31 percent from the field. Luckily, the Poets did not fare much better, allowing the Bulldogs to stay in the game. Though neither team played to their full potential in the first half, Whittier College was able to do some damage from beyond the arc, making 46 percent of the three-pointers they attempted as opposed to the Bulldogs’ 30 percent.
The tug-of-war battle was intensified by the loud and persistent crowd at the Currier Gym as the basketball improved in the second half. Sophomore Trevor Baker and senior Sean Milligan led the Bulldogs in the second half, as the two scored 10 and 12 points, respectively. The Bulldogs finally regained their lead, for the first time since the Bulldogs were up 17-15, when Baker drained a three-pointer to bringing the score to 53-51.
The final 10 minutes of the game saw seven lead changes, which only added to the atmosphere inside the gymnasium. The Poets made a three to tie the score at 60, but Redlands responded with a three of their own on the next possession to regain a lead of 63-60. Whittier proceeded to tie things at 63 and then add two more of their own to make the score 65-63, a two-point lead that was quickly lost when the Bulldogs made two free throws to make things level once more.
After falling behind 69-68 in the last minute of play, the Bulldogs seemed to regain momentum when freshman Jesse Wilms sent the crowd into a frenzy with a slam dunk to give Redlands a one-point lead with 29 seconds left. However, the Poets’ forward, Conner Longmire, drained a three pointer five seconds later, giving the Poets the lead. He then made two crucial free throws with ice water flowing through his veins, as the Redlands student body turned up the volume to make sure the shots were anything but free. The two points brought the score to 74-70 and put Whittier in the driver’s seat for good, as they went on to win the game 76-72.
The heartbreaking loss dropped Redlands to a 5-10 record (1-5 in SCIAC play). The Bulldogs next suit up on Tuesday, when they travel to Cal Lutheran to take on the Kingsmen.
[photo courtesy of Mollie Craighead, Redlands Sports Information]