PASADENA, Calif. – Cal Lutheran did just enough to overcome a hard charging Caltech squad to post a 54-49 SCIAC men's basketball win on Saturday evening.
Although Cal Lutheran never trailed in the second half, they never built their lead by more than 10 points. Caltech nearly pulled off a stunning comeback in the final 2:35. With the Kingsmen holding a 48-38 lead, Caltech used timely shooting and defense to get within 50-47 after a Pan Wang lay-up with 59 ticks left on the clock.
The Kingsmen missed a three-pointer on their ensuing possession but grabbed the offensive rebound with 26 seconds remaining. Caltech was forced to foul and sent Steven Davis to charity stripe. He made the first but missed the second however; Cal Lutheran kept possession on a Collin Knudsen offensive rebound.
Knudsen made one of his two foul shots with 18 seconds left to push the Cal Lutheran lead to 52-47. Off the inbounds, Collin Murphy sprinted down the court for a lay-up three seconds later to get the Beavers within a single possession at 52-49. However, Cal Lutheran sealed the game with a pair of foul shots four seconds later by Jayvaughn Nettles.
The Beavers jumped out early by scoring the game's first seven points in just over two minutes of action. The Kingsmen (9-12, 5-6 SCIAC) clawed back and took the lead for good at 12-10 with 13:46 left in the first half via a 12-3 scoring spurt.
After a Beaver bucket knotted the score at 12-12, Cal Lutheran continued to push the scoring as they increased their lead to 22-12 with 9:07 left in the frame. Caltech (5-17, 0-11 SCIAC) chipped away and got their deficit down to two points with a Wang three-pointer with three seconds left in the half. The visitors went into halftime with a 30-28 advantage.
Cal Lutheran overcame 20 turnovers in posting the win. Caltech's 11 steals were the most against a league foe this season. The Beavers held a 24-8 edge in points off turnovers but the Kingsmen helped make-up for that with a 12-6 advantage in second chance points.
Aaron Van Klavern had a game high 20 points and eight rebounds to pace the Kingsmen attack.
Wang had a team best 11 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Andrew Hogue contributed a 10-point evening.