PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2017) – Junior guard David Kawashima (Studio City, Calif. / North Hollywood) put forth perhaps the greatest performance of his career in Saturday's Alumni Day war with Occidental College.
Kawashima had scored 13 points in the Beavers' victory over University of La Verne back in January, but on Saturday scored 12 points to go with 12 rebounds, seven of which came on offense. He also had four assists. The 6-foot-2 guard's hustle and grit was on full display and positioning proved to be key particularly on his offensive rebounds. He helped the Beavers work into some longer possessions and burn the Tigers beneath the glass on occasion.
Kawashima's exceptional effort would have been enough to lift the Beavers on most days, but due to yet another poor outing at the free throw line, the Tigers got the ball back with a chance to win the game and eventually stole a victory away from the Beavers with a three-pointer as time expired in regulation.
Following a successful Kawashima three-point play, the Beavers led by as many as 10 points with just over five points to play (60-50). Slowly but surely, Occidental chipped into Caltech's lead as the Beavers could only muster four points the rest of the way. In that span, the Beavers went just 2-for-6 from the line and certainly had their chances to bury the Tigers late. Andrew Johnson, Occidental's leading scorer and among the SCIAC leaders in the category fouled out with two-minutes to go, which figured to severely handicap the Tigers late. Though seniors Ricky Galliani (Menlo Park, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) and David LeBaron (San Diego, Calif. / Francis Parker) led the Beavers with 17 and 16 points each with five three-pointers between them, the duo combined to shoot just 4-for-9 from the line. Caltech's free throw woes also plagued them against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Thursday, when the Beavers came just minutes away from knocking off the undisputed top team in the SCIAC.
Aside from some last-second magic and missed chances at the foul line, the Beavers played a sound basketball game. They outrebounded the Tigers 38-31 while generating 17 second-chance points and 34 points in the paint. While they may have lost the turnover battle, they still managed to turn the ball over just 11 times over the course the game's 40 minutes. Senior Nasser Al-Rayes also proved to be a notable standout for the Beavers, coming close to a double-double of his own with nine points and 10 rebounds.
The two rivals traded blows early, though LeBaron and the Beavers got the last laugh in the first half when the senior drained a three-pointer with 29 seconds left to give his side some much needed momentum going into the second. Caltech led for the majority of the half but really put the pedal to the metal when it unleashed a 17-8 run between the 11-minute mark and five-minute mark. LeBaron paced Caltech with six points in that span, though Al-Rayes, Galliani, Kawashima and freshman Alec Andrews (Folsom, Calif. / Folsom) all contributed in ways big and small during the stretch.
Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger and the Beavers will look to put last week behind them when they take on Whittier College this Tuesday in Braun Gymnasium. The Beavers own a victory over the Poets from back in early January and will be looking to complete the season sweep. The SCIAC clash is set to begin at 7 p.m.