PASADENA, Calif. – For the first time since Jan. 23, 1985 the Caltech men's basketball team posted a win in a conference game. On Tuesday evening the Beavers beat Occidental College 46-45 at the Braun Athletic Center.
It was the first SCIAC win for the Caltech program since they beat La Verne 48-47 - 26 years ago. Caltech had lost its previous 310 SCIAC games.
"Tonight's win is a testament to the hard work each member of this team, the alumni and the supporters have put into this program. I hope that everyone who has participated in Caltech men's basketball is able to celebrate a little bit tonight," third year head coach Oliver Eslinger said. "We still have goals and aspirations that we want to accomplish as a program and this win is another step towards meeting these objectives."
The game clinching point came when Ryan Elmquist hit the first of two free throws with three seconds left. An Occidental desperation shot from behind half court didn't connect. The senior went out in style by scoring a game high 23 points while playing all 40 minutes.
Caltech trailed for much of the contest but Occidental never built their lead to more than eight points. After Jake Copithorne gave the visitors a 45-37 lead with 4:33 remaining, the Beavers outscored Occidental 9-0 down the stretch for the win.
While Caltech made a season low 12 field goals, they only committed five turnovers during the historic win. The five miscues set a school record for fewest ever in a game. In addition, the 45 points allowed was a defensive best effort for the Beavers this season.
Elmquist was fouled repeatedly in the post. He went to the foul line a season high 19 times where he converted 15 of those attempts. As a team the Beavers went 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.
Caltech is a private research university located in Pasadena, California. Caltech has six academic divisions with a strong emphasis on science and engineering. Caltech enrolls approximately 950 undergraduate and 1200 graduate students and employs about 300 professional faculty. Despite its small size, 31 Caltech alumni and faculty have won the Nobel Prize, 67 have won the National Medal of Science or Technology, and 110 have been elected to the National Academies.
ABOUT THE SCIAC
The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was formed in 1915 when five Southern California institutions combined for the purpose of promoting and governing competition in intercollegiate sports. While the mission of the conference has remained intact since the beginning, the membership has varied over the years, but now stands at eight (since 1991). The five original SCIAC schools are still members: California Institute of Technology, Occidental College, Pomona College, University of Redlands, and Whittier College. Occidental and Redlands are, however, the only ones to have uninterrupted membership. They have since been joined by California Lutheran University, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, and University of La Verne to comprise the current membership. (Pomona College now has become Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for athletics.)