In the final tune-up before SCIAC play, Caltech hosted Chapman University, ranked No. 17 in the latest d3hoops.com national poll. Chapman entered the contest with an 11-2 record after beating division 2 BYU-Hawaii this past Saturday. Caltech, looking for its first win of the season, was buried with a brutal start that turned much brighter in the second half; though the visiting Panthers were still able to run home with the win, 60-42.
Chapman scored the first 12 points of the contest behind relentless play from Justin Riley, who converted four layups in the opening minutes. A jump shot by Caltech's Collin Murphy put the hosts on the board, but ice cold Caltech was unable to close the gap. The lead widened the rest of the stanza as the Panthers, shooting 50 percent on the year, ran into halftime with a 34-9 advantage, after going 15 of 28 (53.6 percent) from the field. Caltech only committed six turnovers during the first 20 minutes, but simply could not buy a basket. The Beavers shot a season-low 14 percent on 4 of 28 shooting - 0 for 10 from the 3-point line - after hitting 10 out of 20 from long range in their last game.
Caltech opened the second half with a bucket in the paint by Ryan Elmquist, his first points of the game, but Chapman was able to counter and more, as it saw the spread balloon to 32 points, 50-18, with 11:28 left in the game. After a Caltech timeout, however, the Beavers put together a dazzling run that began with a Mike Edwards 3-pointer. He then assisted on an Elmquist old-fashioned 3-point play. The Beavers continued to chew away at the deficit, and trimmed the gap to under 20 points, 52-33, as Edwards was fouled on a slicing move to the basket in which he hit the layup and subsequent free throw with 4:06 remaining. A 3-point shot by Chapman made the score 55-33 and stopped a 15-2 Caltech spurt, but the Beavers refused to back down.
A floating jumper by Edwards from the corner, two free throws by Mason Freedman, a 3-point bomb by Elmquist, and another jump shot by Edwards allowed the Beavers to come within 15 points, 57-42, with their final 7-0 run. The last 12 minutes of the game showcased a flurry of defensive stops by Caltech, as the squad managed four blocked shots and four steals as Edwards and Elmquist combined for 20 points during the late surge. The 11-minute 24-10 burst by the Beavers also featured several key contributions by Jesse Shevin and Marcus Lucas as Caltech won the second half, 33-26. The Beavers set a program record for most blocked shots in a game with eight swats, a statistic in which the Beavers are currently ranked 14th in the nation.
Edwards, reigning SCIAC player of the week, scored a game-high 18 points - 15 in the second half - and added three steals. Elmquist, who tied a career-high with five rejections, managed all 12 of his points in the last 20 minutes. Murphy provided six points, five boards, three assists, and a steal while Shevin and Lucas combined for seven rebounds and two blocks. For the game, the Beavers forced 12 Chapman turnovers and only had 11 themselves, a season low, while holding the Panthers to 32 percent shooting in the second period and their third lowest scoring output of the year (56 points against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and 58 against Hawaii Pacific University).
Caltech travels to Cal Lutheran this Saturday as conference play
opens for the SCIAC. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 pm.