Photo by Michael Wong
PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2015) – Senior Andrew Hogue (Arroyo Grande, Calif. / Arroyo Grande) double-doubled in the final home game of his career as the Caltech men's basketball team fell, 71-57, in a typically fast-paced 110 Freeway Rivalry matchup against Occidental College on Saturday night.
The Beavers sent off Hogue and fellow senior Bryan Joel (Bethesda, Md. / Walt Whitman) on Senior Night, with the pair having led this year's squad to the most SCIAC wins since 1960-61.
"Our two seniors are true seniors – they play with confidence and a maturity that shows all they've learned over the years," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "We are all very proud of them and what they've done. Hogue was playing with a bloodied and broken nose, and turned in another great performance. Joel led us all night – he is that coach on the floor all teams desire."
Oxy outshot Caltech 44-35 percent from the field and forced five more turnovers which led to a 22-7 points-off-turnovers difference to improve to 11-13 overall and 7-8 in the SCIAC, while the Beavers are now 4-20 (3-12).
"What a crowd, and what an environment," Eslinger said. "When the atmosphere is like that in our gym, it's a definite home court advantage. We're so appreciate to everyone for coming out to support us and the women's team like they have this season."
Sophomore Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha) got back to dominating the early touches, hitting a turnaround jumper in the post to open the scoring. Oxy went ahead 4-2 before Hogue sank a pair of free throws to tie it at just 4-4 over five minutes into play, but the Tigers scored the next five points to go up 9-4 at the 11:17 mark.
Hogue drilled a three to pull back within two and sophomore Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) hit a jumper on the next possession to keep the margin at two, but Oxy's Juwan Rice hit a layup and went coast-to-coast on the next play, drawing a foul and hitting both free throws to take a 15-9 lead. The Tigers extended the difference to eight at 19-11 before junior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) nailed a three-pointer, but Kory Hamane matched it soon after. Emezie seemed to take the basket personally, as Hogue found him with an open lane and the wing drove straight to the hoop and threw down a dunk. The margin would stay between six and eight until Hogue beat his man off the dribble at the top of the arc and was able to roll in a layup as the shot clock expired to make the halftime score 28-23.
Emezie carried the offense early in the second half, scoring the Beavers' first eight points on a pair of free throws and two more treys, but that was all Caltech got in the opening five minutes while Oxy tacked on 14 to take a game-high 14-point lead at the 15:42 mark. Sophomore David LeBaron (San Diego, Calif. / Francis Parker) cut the difference to seven with four points in 26 seconds on the next two possessions, and Joel sank his first triple of the day to pull back within six at 46-40 with 11:27 remaining. That was as close as the Beavers would get, however, with Oxy stretching the margin back out to double figures and riding to the victory.
"It was a physical game and neither team had a great rhythm in the first half," Eslinger said. "We made a good stand to end the first and made that mini-run in the second. Unfortunately, some untimely plays kept them ahead and we weren't quite able to get over the edge. We played tough and hung in right to the end, as always, making our tenacity and free-throw shooting work for us."
Hogue finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year and added three assists, while Emezie scored 13 points on a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. LeBaron chipped in 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with three rebounds, two assists and one steal in just 17 minutes off the bench, while Al-Rayes compiled five points, six rebounds and three blocks – breaking the program's single-season mark by one, with 52 this year.
"It was good to see some guys take it to the rim," Eslinger said. "Ricky [Galliani], Ty [Ochse] and David were all attacking, and Kc as always with an energetic slam. Nasser got back on track altering some shots too."
Eslinger and the Beavers will head to No. 22 Chapman University (20-4, 11-4) for the season finale on Tuesday, Feb. 24 needing just a handful of statistics to set multiple single-season program records, including rebounds, blocks and points scored.