The nonconference basketball game between host Cal Lutheran and the University of the Redlands was expected to be a run-and-gun affair.
But the contest resembled more of a run-and-shoot football affair that should have taken place about 100 yards outside the gym at CLU's Mt. Clef Stadium.
The bodies slammed and banged to the floor the entire game but Cal Lutheran slammed and banged more balls through the hoop to claim a 96-91 victory Saturday.
Jeff deLaveaga emerged from the struggle with a game-high 40 points and forward Simon O'Donnell, a 6-foot-6 forward from Sydney, Australia, who was the focal point of much of the rough play, banged in 29 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Kingsmen (7-5).
"It was a very physical game," CLU Coach Mike Dunlap said. "We were trying to make a point to each other tonight. Even though it wasn't a conference game we know we will be in the same conference next year. We were each trying to make a statement for next season."
CLU made its presence felt on offense, hooting 50.8% from the field while its tenacious defense held Redlands (9-5) to only 31.5%. However, the Kingsmen converted only 29 of 50 free throws.
And O'Donnell set the physical tone of the game when one of his early first-half rebounds sent Redlands players slamming to the court.
"I got hit in the mouth on that play and I guess I sort of went crazy for a moment after that," O'Donnell said.
"It was a really physical game and I loved it."
Jeff Sofro from Glendale High, who paced the Bulldogs with 35 points, was disappointed in his performance, however.
"I didn't (make) my free throws down the stretch and as a team we just didn't make the shots like we usually do," Sofro said. "Their big guy (O'Donnell) was like a man against children out there tonight."
CLU held a 43-40 lead at halftime, but the Kingsmen went on a 12-6 run midway through the second half and Redlands could get no closer than the final margin.