At the Second Annual Men's Basketball Alumni Event Night, junior Ryan Elmquist manufactured a double-double and, with four blocked shots, tied an Institute record for swats in a season (47) in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game against Occidental College. The program's previous sole record holder for blocks, Ben Turk '98, was in attendance after being honored earlier in the evening as part of the unveiling of the 1,000 Point Club.
Occidental scored the first four points of the contest, but Elmquist nailed a 3-pointer at the 17:16 mark to put the Beavers on the board. The visiting Tigers forged ahead by six, 11-5, but another shot from downtown by freshman Mike Edwards and two free throws by Elmquist helped Caltech pull to within one point, 11-10, with 11:18 remaining in the half. From that instance, Occidental took control of the game and closed the half on a 24-3 run as Caltech missed all 10 of its final field goal attempts in the period. Though the Beavers held the Tigers to 35.9 percent shooting in the half, the hosts connected on a mere 3 of 21 field goal attempts (14.3 percent) and found themselves down 35-13.
Caltech started the second half strongly as freshman Collin Murphy connected on a short jumper in the paint and freshman Alex Runkel maneuvered in the post for a nifty layup. Runkel then found Edwards streaking to the basket for an easy two with a full court outlet pass that closed the margin to 18, 37-19, with 17:40 on the clock. That is as close as the Beavers would draw, however, as the Tigers responded with an 11-4 spurt that saw Caltech unable to convert another field goal until a 3-pointer by freshman Mason Freedman at the 10:48 mark. Freedman's shot trimmed the lead to 48-26, but Occidental was able to extend the gap with well timed offensive rebounds and steals that led to two breakaway dunks to extinguish any thought of a Caltech surge.
With the 72-41 win, Occidental maintains its pace in the SCIAC playoff race with three games left in the season. The young Beavers host Pomona-Pitzer this Wednesday in one of two remaining home games.
After a dismal first half shooting line, Caltech responded by making 9 of 17 field goals (52.9 percent) in the second stanza. Elmquist's 19 point and 10 rebound performance was his third double-double of the year. Edwards added 12 points, two blocks, and one steal. Runkel scored four points, grabbed nine boards, and had two assists.
Edwards moved into fourth place and ahead of George Papa '94,
who was also in the crowd as a 1,000 point scorer honoree, for most
points scored in a season (415). Elmquist, who averages 13.0 points
and 6.3 rebounds per game, is ranked in the nation's top 30 in
blocks (2.1 bpg) and is the conference leader in that category.
Caltech, which already broke the program record for team blocks in
a season (76 in 2008-09), has 88 in the current campaign.