PASADENA (Feb. 10, 2018) – The Caltech men's basketball got back into the win column on Saturday evening with a collaborative effort against visiting University of Redlands.
The Beavers extracted quality minutes from all nine of their active players. Sophomore guard Alec Andrews (Folsom, Calif. / Folsom) registered his second consecutive game with at least 20 points (22 points and six assists) and freshman guard Marcus Gee (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) recovered from Wednesday's home game against Occidental College with a 20-point effort of his own. Gee received ample opportunity to work through his struggles, and a strong two-way game helped him overcome them. He added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to go along with a 7-for-15 shooting night.
"I have so much confidence in him," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "The only way to really learn is to go through it. We're always trying to teach our guys and it's a learning environment and because it's the youngest team we've ever had and because we're so bottom heavy. We're all learning. Personally, I've learned to be a little more self-aware and how to better respond to different situations."
Senior wing David Kawashima (Studio City, Calif. / North Hollywood) did not score his first points of the game until late in the second half but found other ways to contribute. His seven rebounds boosted his team, as did the two assists and steals he had to offer. Freshman forward Spencer Schneider (Houston, Texas / Clearbrook) and sophomore guard Bret Johnson (Carlsbad, Calif. / Santa Fe Christian) each provided double-figures scoring nights off the bench and sophomore forward Calvin Huh (Fort Lee, N.J. / Bergen Tech) came off the bench as well to lead the team with eight rebounds. When the sophomore got into foul trouble mid-way through the second half, Eslinger and his staff made the necessary adjustments to ensure continued focus and high-octane play.
"We've played a lot of different lineups this year," Eslinger said. "But the thing is, everybody still plays. We want to finish the season on a high note, and in order to do that it takes a lot of focus. No matter if you're playing one minute or 30, the game plan is always to do what we do."
The Beavers did a lot of the little things well they needed to do in order to come out with the win. Aside from receiving quality minutes up and down the lineup, Caltech managed to out-rebound a significantly larger Bulldogs team, 41-33. The Beavers had an especially proficient evening on the offensive glass, accumulating 15 team offensive rebounds. The home team also assisted on 21-of-27 field goals for a cool 77 percent, good for a season high. Confidence played its part. Caltech managed to set the tone early, beginning the game on a 12-3 run and the team quickly realized it had a fighting chance to earn its first victory since mid-January. Gee, Andrews and the rest of the Beavers kept pace with the Bulldogs by shooting 40-percent from the field and their ability to rebound helped earn them their first win of the season when being outshot.
For Eslinger, the win will go down as one to remember this season.
"I was really proud of them and the way they executed because we have gone through a lot of adversity," Eslinger said. "When you're losing games you prepare to win and you work really hard, it can be really tough when the outcome goal isn't exactly what you're dreaming about when you're going through the process. So, their ability to fortify as a group was really, really impressive. They were confident in one another. Confident to go out and play at home and that was the difference. Physically we can do a lot of good stuff. Especially with a young group. It's just good to have the outcome line up with what you've been working on."
Eslinger and the Beavers will finish the season with two road games then a senior-night home game. The first of the three will take place at California Lutheran University on Valentines' Day at 7:00 p.m.