Menlo went up against the Bruins of Bethany University tonight continuing the conference battle between them. Last season the Oaks and Bethany came down to the wire in their final matchup. With less than two minutes left to play in the second, Bethany brought Menlo's 12 point lead within one. Menlo gutted out the 67-69 victory over the Bruins, redeeming a one point double overtime loss by Menlo earlier in the season.
Tonight, in true rivalry fashion Menlo and Bethany went basket for basket until Menlo pulled away late in the second half to win it by four 68-64. Nick McCullar led the team with 16 points, with Drew Davis and Tim Tatum earning 13 and 11 points respectively.
Despite the interruptions due to a sweat covered floor Menlo took the first half in stride. At 16:34 Julian Harris drew a foul and his two free throw shots gave Menlo their first lead of the game 6-4. Menlo continued to work and found themselves gaining a greater lead. Davis put up four points in thirty seconds giving the Oaks a seven point lead at 14:09. Bethany would go on a 12- 5 run and gain a one point lead at 8:36 21-22. The Oaks responded with seven unanswered points to regain the lead 28-22 at 6:05. A three point shot by Ryan Dung contributed to the run. Although the Bruins would bring the score within three with two minutes left to play, Menlo racked up two more and finished the half up by five and the score 34-29.
Early in the second Bethany worked their way back to an even 38-38 score. The teams would tie four more times, the last one coming at the 11:10 mark from a two point shot made by Bethany and the scoreboard read 49-49. The Oaks pulled ahead as Nick McCullar put up eight points in under two minutes giving Menlo a six point lead 61-55 with 3:57 left to play. The go ahead play was off a fast break when Menlo's Nick McCullar hit Patrick Greene in stride, wanting to throw down a dunk, laid it off the glass and drew a foul. Greene made the free throw, completing a nice three point play and put Menlo up nine 66-57 with less than two minutes left to play. Although the Bruins would put up a few more the Oaks would hold onto their lead and get the win.
The Oaks improve to 2-1 in conference and 5-11 overall.
They play January 15 after the women's game against University of Chapman.