LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After a rough shooting first half Caltech responded well in the final period but couldn't overcome Occidental on Wednesday evening in a SCIAC men's basketball match-up at Rush Gymnasium. Occidental came away with a 53-43 victory.
The game's first eight-plus minutes saw the lead change hands on five occasions before Occidental slowly grabbed momentum. With 5:58 left in the half and the Tigers holding a 15-13 advantage, the home squad ended the half on a 9-1 scoring spurt as they took a 24-14 edge into the locker room
Caltech's 14-point first half was their lowest scoring opening stanza of the season. They were held to a 5-of-26 shooting effort (19.2 percent) from the field and didn't convert any of their 10 attempts from behind the arc.
The team's traded buckets in the opening minutes of the second half. When DeShun McCoy converted a three-point play with 15:22 left to play, Occidental pushed its lead to 30-18 with 15:22 remaining. Caltech responded with five consecutive points to bring its deficit down to seven points. However, Occidental countered with an 8-2 scoring push to give them their largest lead of the evening at 38-25 with 11:10 left.
A resilient Beaver squad continued to fight their way back. A Todd Cramer lay-up with 8:09 left got the visitors within 39-33. Caltech continued to chip away and when Cramer nailed a mid-range jumper with 6:09 remaining, they were down five at 43-38. After stopping Occidental on their next possession, Mike Paluchniak had his three-pointer rattle in-and-out keeping the Beavers' deficit at five points.
Occidental scored five unanswered points to push their lead back to 10 points (48-38) with 3:42 left. One last Caltech charge got their visitors within 48-43 after Mike Edwards converted his second of two foul shots with 1:17 left. McCoy turned the ball over on Occidental's ensuing possession but Caltech couldn't capitalize as they had a turnover of its own. The Tigers sealed the win by going 5-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
During the second half Caltech hit 10 of their 19 field goal attempts (52.6 percent).
Cramer and Paluchniak tied for team high scoring honors with 12-points each. Edwards added 11 points to round out the double digit producers from the Beavers.
Kris Montoya led all scorers with a 22-point evening while grabbing a game high nine rebounds off the bench.