PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2015) – Sophomore Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha) netted 13 points to lead the Caltech men's basketball team in its final nonconference bout of the season against Oberlin College on Friday afternoon.
Oberlin forced a season-high 24 turnovers while outshooting Caltech from the field (48-35 percent) and beyond the arc (37-15 percent) to improve even its record at 6-6 as the Beavers drop to 1-8.
"It's typically tough to be in a good rhythm after a two-week hiatus from games, including an entire week totally off," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "We came back in good condition, but just seemed to be a little out of sync today. I was actually quite happy with our defense in the first half. Oberlin is well coached and seemed to be in a better rhythm after playing two games this week already."
Both teams were slow to find their footing, combining for a whopping 18 turnovers in the opening 12 minutes, but Oberlin went up 9-6 in the early going. After nearly five minutes without a basket, the Beavers found their stride briefly, with sophomore David LeBaron (San Diego, Calif. / Francis Parker) keying a 9-0 run over the next six minutes that saw Caltech take a 15-9 lead.
Caltech turned away one Oberlin push and extended the lead to a high of seven at 25-18 with four minutes left before the break, but the Yeomen rattled off 10 straight points to end the half with a three-point lead at 28-25.
Junior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) brought the Beavers within one less than a minute back underway, but Oberlin regained the lead and would extend the margin throughout to the final 23-point difference.
Al-Rayes led Caltech with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting while senior Andrew Hogue (Arroyo Grande, Calif. / Arroyo Grande) grabbed six rebounds and tied LeBaron, who chipped in nine points on 4-of-8 shooting, with two steals apiece.
"LeBaron had a terrific game, and Nasser continues to show his ability to dominate," Eslinger said. "Nick Buoniconti gave us some quality minutes too. The biggest takeaway is that this team cares; the guys want to get better, individually and as a team."
Eslinger and the Beavers will open SCIAC play at Whittier College (6-3) on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
"SCIAC play is tough every night," Eslinger said. "Everyone is good, and it will come down to who can make game-winning plays. We will be ready for that."