Men’s basketball wins two straight games, earning a victory on Homecoming night

Leo Yue /HIGHLANDER

The UC Riverside men’s basketball team (4-2) dominated Redlands University in their fifth non-conference game of the season on Thursday, Nov. 21. The matchup was the first of a basketball double header at the SRC Arena, followed by the women’s basketball game against Utah Valley. 

The Highlanders and Bulldogs have a brief matchup history, playing only four games since Dec. 2, 1978. Thursday night’s game was UCR’s first meeting with the Division III team since 1985 and served as Redland’s second exhibition game of the season. UC Riverside’s 76-44 victory brings their all-time record against Redlands to an undefeated 4-0.

The Redlands Bulldogs (3-1) started the game strong with a 7-0 lead until the Highlanders scored 11 straight points and maintained the lead until the end of the game. Sophomore center Callum McRae contributed three blocks during the Highlanders’ first period scoring stretch. The second half was dominated by the Highlanders who started the quarter with a 16-point lead. In the last four minutes of the game, the UC Riverside bench rose to their feet after sophomore guard Dragan Elkaz took a charge while playing clean defense. The momentum started to pick up even more for UC Riverside as they improved their 25-point lead to a final 42 point win, scoring 17 points in a little over three minutes. 

Standing just over seven feet tall and hailing all the way from Palmerston North, New Zealand, McRae led the Highlanders with a perfect 14 points, shooting 7-for-7 from the field. He also posted 10 rebounds and posted his third double-double of the season. Two other Highlanders also scored in double figures for UC Riverside; junior guard George Wilborn III scored 11 points and sophomore small forward Daniel Mading who scored 10. Overall, the Highlanders finished the game shooting 56.9% from the field. 

The Bulldogs were led by Riverside native Hass Berry, who attended Riverside Polytechnic High School. The junior guard scored 15 points and grabbed four rebounds. Redlands struggled offensively, shooting just 27.3% from the field. Redlands played a consistently aggressive defense, however, forcing the Highlanders to commit a notable 19 turnovers.  

On Saturday, Nov. 23, UCR faced off against the University of Denver for their Homecoming game. Excited Highlander fans showed up and cheered for the home team in their 73-49 victory. Callum McRae led the Highlanders once again, as he scored 18 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. The big man also contributed three assists and two blocks to the box score. Freshman point guard Zyon Pullin also had a strong night offensively as he scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Pullin also had six rebounds and four assists. 

Next, the Highlanders will host the Longwood University Lancers (4-2) at the SRC Arena, Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 4 pm.

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