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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Jan. 20, 2015) – Senior Andrew Hogue (Arroyo Grande, Calif. / Arroyo Grande) joined the 500-rebound club with the necessary eighth rebound coming late in the first half as the Caltech men's basketball team faced Occidental College in the second leg of the 110 Freeway Rivalry.
"It's a great accomplish, I'm really proud of him," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "He played his heart out as always. He is really making the most of his final year, leaving it all out on the floor. We saw a lot of versatility and determination in him as a recruit, and he has really shown that this year."
Oxy hit an NCAA game-high 12 three-pointers en route to a 76-68 win as every bounce and call seemed to go the hosts' way whenever Caltech tried to fight back into the mix. Oxy improves to 8-6 overall and 4-2 in the SCIAC while the Beavers drop to 1-14 (0-6).
The Beavers immediately let the Tigers know they were ready to play, forcing a turnover on the opening possession with sophomore Ricky Galliani (Menlo Park, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) converting the fast break layup. Oxy then took a 7-4 lead, but Caltech came right back with an 8-1 run to go ahead, 12-8 just before the five-minute mark.
Galliani had the hot hand early as the sophomore hit three of his first four three-pointers to propel the Beavers to a 29-21 lead with 7:57 left in the half. The Tigers came roaring back, however, pouring in 14 unanswered points, including four straight three-pointers, over the next 3:32 to surge ahead, 35-29. Oxy would hold the six-point margin until just before halftime, as Galliani hit a free throw to cut it to five at 37-32.
"We knew they were going to shoot a lot of threes, but we trusted our game plan to prevent them from getting penetration and to the free throw line, and we did that," Eslinger said. "They hit several in transition and Spencer Levy got pretty hot, but we limited them to two free throws in the first half playing the defense we wanted to."
Oxy kept the momentum going to open the second half, stretching the lead out to double digits and an eventual game-high of 18 at 61-43 with 7:41 remaining. The Beavers fought back to trim the deficit to single digits four times, but were unable to build the momentum to come all the way back.
Hogue flirted with a triple-double, posting 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists Sophomore Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) led a season-high-tying five Beavers to score in double figures with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting while Galliani added 14 on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from downtown, and seven rebounds. Junior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) added 13 points and three steals while sophomore Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha) chipped in 12 on 6-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds and three blocks.
"We had some great individual performances tonight, starting with Hogue coming just three assists away from a triple-double," Eslinger said. "It was really exciting to see Ricky and Lawrence not only come alive but dominate at times. Nasser certainly exerted his presence in the paint - that putback jam was insane and came at a great time. Kc and Lawrence both hit late threes and once again Nick Buoniconti gave us a huge boost of energy and muscle off the bench. We did a great job attacking the rim ourselves, attacking the paint and getting the ball into post. This was the most physical game we played this year and I thought we earned more than the 14 free throws we got."
Eslinger and the Beavers will look to bounce back at the University of La Verne (5-9, 1-4) on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.