THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Funny how much can change in seven seconds. In a thrilling Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) league game, Redlands hit a go-ahead three-pointer with seven seconds left in the game, but Arik Smith would take the following inbounds pass, nearly lose the ball at half court and then hit a running three-pointer to give Cal Lutheran a wild 71-69 victory Saturday night inside Gilbert Arena. The nearly buzzer-beating heroics capped a nail-biting final three minutes that saw seven lead changes.
The Kingsmen had led the game since 7:50 left in the first half before Redlands mounted a comeback with nine minutes left to play. Trailing 60-52, Redlands went on a 5-0 run to get within one point. Smith would make a free-throw and a jump shot on consecutive possessions to put CLU back up by four but Ricky Peetz would hit a three-pointer and then a 15-footer to give the Bulldogs the lead with 4:54 left to play.
The teams would exchange baskets before Coltrane Powdrill hit both free-throws with 2:04 left to play and put CLU back up at 67-66. Both teams would then turn the ball over leading to Smith making a free-throw, pushing CLU's lead to two.
With 13 seconds left to play, Matt Calhoun was fouled and went to the free-throw with a chance to tie the game. Calhoun missed the first free-throw and then intentionally missed the second and Cal Lutheran looked to have pulled in the defensive rebound but Eric Radford snared the ball in the corner, swung a cross-court pass to the left wing where Peetz would catch and deliver what looked to be the game-winning three-pointer with seven seconds left.
Following a timeout, Smith dribbled up the court, bobbled the ball between two defenders, regained control and launched a floater that swished through the net as time expired.
Much like the final minutes, the first half was back and forth affair with Redlands rushing out to a 10-3 advantage after making its first four shots from the field. Cal Lutheran would battle back to retake the lead, holding the Bulldogs without a basket over the next eight minutes. While the defense stifled Redlands, Cal Lutheran went on a 12-0 run thanks to three-pointers from Michael Palmer and Corey Quintana to go along with a pair of jumpers from Powdrill.
Redlands would counter by getting five straight points from Radford to tie the game at 17-17 with 8:32 left to play in the first half. Powdrill would then score 13 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as CLU controlled the final five minutes and went into halftime up 33-30.
In addition to scoring in double figures, Powdrill also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds. Jeremy Sulker-Hall had 12 points off the bench and Quintana poured in 10 more. Palmer and Smith each finished with nine.
Peetz led the Bulldogs with 20 points while Aljosa Bjekovic, Calhoun and Radford each tallied 10.
With the loss, Redlands falls to 7-8 overall on the year and 3-3 in the SCIAC.
Cal Lutheran (13-3, 4-3 SCIAC) will look to continue its ascent to the top of the league standings when it hosts Chapman on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Tip-off with the Panthers is set for 7:30 p.m.