Beavers' Season Ends at Hands of Poets

Beavers' Season Ends at Hands of Poets

In the final game of the 2009-10 campaign, the Caltech men's basketball team placed three players in double figures and secured 16 offensive rebounds only to fall victim to Whittier College, 93-61. Costly turnovers early in the game and misconnections on field goal attempts helped the visiting Poets run away with the win in Pasadena on Caltech's Senior Night.

Whittier jumped out to an 11 point lead, 13-2, but the Beavers were able to trim the margin to seven behind two straight jumpers from freshmen guards Mason Freedman and Pan Wang. The Poets, however, answered with a 16-1 run that saw the gap widen to 22 points, 29-7 with 8:41 left in the first half. An offensive board and put-back by first-year forward Marcus Lucas, followed by a Wang 3-pointer, helped Caltech slightly cut its deficit to 17, 29-12, 30 seconds later. The point differential hovered around 20 for the rest of the period as the Beavers were never able to pull within 18 despite gaining scoring contributions from other key freshmen Mike Edwards, Collin Murphy, and Alex Runkel. Whittier held a 49-27 halftime advantage as it shot 55.6 percent from the field.

The Beavers were spectacular on the boards in the first 20 minutes as they outrebounded the Poets 23-19, with eight caroms coming on the offensive glass. Though Caltech saw seven different players in the scoring column, the hosts hit only 9 of 33 shots (27.3 percent) and suffered from 16 turnovers that led to 19 opponent points.

The teams went back-and-forth as the second half opened, and although Whittier extended its lead to 27 (61-34) with 15:00 on the clock, the Beavers battled behind six straight points by junior Ryan Elmquist followed by jump shots by Edwards and Murphy. Down 65-44 with 11:09 to play, the squads essentially traded baskets. Caltech was unable to get closer than 21, though Elmquist, with 16 second half points, continued to be aggressive and put up points from inside and out. Whittier gradually found itself up 30 as the two active Caltech seniors, Ruslan Kurdyumov and ZeNan Chang, entered the ball game for their final moments as college basketball players. The Poets shot 51.7 percent in the second half.

As they have done all season, the Beavers defended the 3-point line as the visitors hit just 2 of 13 shots from behind the arc (15.4 percent). Though Caltech only committed six turnovers in the second stanza, it still only made 29 percent of its field goals. For the game, Whittier held a slim profit in the rebound category, 43-41.

Edwards led Caltech in scoring for the 18th time this season with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Elmquist finished with 17 and 7. Wang scored a career-high ten points while Lucas snagged eight boards. Murphy added eight points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

With 64 field goal attempts, the Orange and White set a program record for shot attempts in a season while Elmquist became the season leader in free throw attempts. Earlier in the year, he broke the mark for blocked shots in a season, and the Beavers as a unit entered Institute history for most team blocks during a campaign. Murphy, with his two steals, entered the top 10 for a season and Edwards, who already fixed himself into a top 10 theft classification, was inked into the fourth spot for season free throw percentage. Edwards ended his first college quest just ten points off the mark for most points scored in one season, which was set by Jordan Carlson as a senior in 2005-06 with 479.