Photo by Nhi Casey
WHITTIER, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2016) – Junior Nasser Al-Rayes (Doha, Qatar / American School of Doha) came up just shy of a double-double with a season-high-tying 19 points and eight rebounds as Caltech men's basketball fell at second-place Whittier College, 94-76, on Saturday evening.
Despite the defeat, Caltech does not lose any ground in the race for a postseason berth, although a victory by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges does send the Stags ahead in fifth place via tiebreaker. The Beavers are still just one game out of fourth place at 6-7 in conference play and 8-14 overall, while Whittier solidifies a one-game lead on second place at 8-5 (13-9).
The Poets knocked down 12 three-pointers at a 38 percent clip while generating an additional 11 shots thanks to a +10 turnover margin to claim the victory. Caltech shot a solid 46 percent from the floor but hit just three of 12 three-pointers and sank only 65 percent from the free throw line.
Whittier quickly took control in the first half, racing out to a 22-8 lead at just the 13:18 mark. That margin held through the next two minutes before Caltech began to rally, cutting the margin to single digits on a three-pointer by freshman Andrew Wang (Germantown, Md. / Poolesville) with 9:08 on the clock.
Junior Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) pulled the Beavers within six on a pair of free throws and jumper before freshman Brent Cahill (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach) made it a five-point game with a free throw at 6:06. The Poets quickly stretched back out by seven and traded baskets through halftime, when the score read 45-38 in the hosts' favor. Caltech was unable to claw any closer in the second half, however, and Whittier led by a high of 22 before the final margin of 18.
Al-Rayes led the Beavers with 19 points and eight rebounds, the latter of which freshman David Kawashima (Studio City, Calif. / North Hollywood) matched. Cahill chipped in 13 points off the bench while senior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) scored 10 on 4-for-5 shooting.
Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger and the Beavers begin their final home stand on Wednesday, Feb. 17 as they host the University of La Verne (9-13, 7-6) at 7:30 p.m.