REDLANDS, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2015) – The Beavers' big men, senior Andrew Hogue (Arroyo Grande, Calif. / Arroyo Grande) and sophomore Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha), kept up their high level of play as the Caltech men's basketball team took on SCIAC foe the University of Redlands on Saturday afternoon.
"We received tremendous post play today and that kept us close for a majority of the game," Head Coach Oliver Eslinger said. "Then we hit some threes too, so even though they beat us on the boards and worked around our defense, we were able to stay competitive."
The Beavers tied a season high with nine three-pointers but an eight-rebound deficit and double-digit free throw disadvantage proved their undoing, as Redlands improved to 4-8 overall and 1-2 in the SCIAC, while Caltech is now 1-11 (0-3).
Fired up to defend their home court, the Bulldogs notched the first eight points of the game as Caltech missed four consecutive three-pointers out of the gate. Eslinger called a timeout to settle the team and it worked, as the Beavers then scored on each of their next five possessions to pull within one point at 10-9 with 13:45 on the clock.
Three minutes later, junior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) drilled a three-pointer to tie things up at 14-14, but Redlands responded with six unanswered points to regain a comfortable edge. Caltech responded immediately, however, with Hogue and sophomore Ricky Galliani (Menlo Park, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) knocking down back-to-back treys and the senior hitting a pair of free throws to even the score at 22-22 at the 6:29 mark. Sophomore Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) hit a big jumper on the next possession to send Caltech ahead with 5:52 on the clock, and the Beavers held the lead for the next four minutes.
Redlands finally scored on consecutive possessions to regain the edge just 1:30 before halftime, but Al-Rayes came up with a huge effort play on the ensuing Beavers possession, fighting to grab an offensive rebound and converting an and-one opportunity to tie things up once again at 32-32 with 1:17 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs would hit a single free throw before the break, and Galliani's three-point attempt was off the mark and went out of bounds, leaving Redlands up one at the half.
The Bulldogs started the second half much the same as the first, scoring six straight points to go ahead by seven less than three minutes into play. Another six unanswered points made it a double-digit margin, and although Al-Rayes cut it to single digits, the Bulldogs responded with yet another eight straight points to surge ahead. Despite senior Bryan Joel (Bethesda, Md. / Walt Whitman) getting hot down the stretch, hitting three of his four total three-pointers within a three-minute span, the Beavers would not come any closer. Caltech was able to celebrate a pair of season firsts, however, as junior Robert Anderson (Orono, Minn. / Orono) and freshman David Kawashima (Studio City, Calif. / North Hollywood) scored their first points of the year in the final 42 seconds.
Joel led the Beavers with 12 points, all coming on three-pointers as he went 4-for-9 from long range. Al-Rayes added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and just missed the double-double with nine rebounds while also blocking four shots. Hogue recorded his typical all-around line of 10 points (2-of-2 beyond the arc), five rebounds, three assists and one steal. Kawashima once again impressed in his limited time on the court, adding one rebound, one assist and a steal to his two points in just two minutes.
"I really love what our freshmen are doing," Eslinger said. "They are getting better every day in practice and playing well every time they step onto the court. Nasser, Lawrence and Nick made their presences felt down low too, and Joel really came alive from deep toward the end."
Eslinger and the Beavers will return to Pasadena to host California Lutheran University (9-2, 3-0) on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.