WHITTIER, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2019) – The Caltech men's basketball team came within one possession of making it two SCIAC wins in a row at Whittier College on Saturday evening, and freshman guard Noah Barnes (Springfield, Va. / Jefferson), along with sophomore guard Marcus Gee (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) had a lot to do with it.
Barnes had a career night and filled the stat sheet with 23 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Gee matched his freshman teammate with 23 points. Both players shot over 50-percent from the field, though Gee was especially sharp going 8-for-11 from the field and 3-for-4 from deep. Both strong performances helped put the Beavers in a position to down the Poets on the road. Caltech found themselves in an early hole but created another over the last few minutes of the first half and entered the second period trailing Whittier by 19 points. The Beavers pulled it together in the second half, however, and opened the period on a 25-7 run to make a game out of it.
Caltech eventually went up by five points with five minutes to go, accentuated by a Riley O'Neil (Santa Rosa, Calif. / Montgomery) layup just before the five-minute mark. The Poets hung around and soon took the lead back but Caltech countered with one more Gee three-pointer with one second to go to put the visitors down by one point. The Beavers ran out of time to secure the win but showed they are capable of solving the Poets (3-3 SCIAC, fourth in conference) and will have a chance to show it again next month. The 50-percent shooting day is Caltech's best so far this season and should provide the confidence needed to knock down shots from all over the floor against SCIAC teams. Caltech also shot 41-percent from three and the deep ball ultimately provided the Beavers a way back into the game. In addition to Barnes and Gee, who combined for eight three-pointers, junior guard Alec Andrews (Folsom, Calif. / Folsom) also knocked down a pair of deep shots and facilitated the shooters around him with seven assists.
"I couldn't be prouder of our guys' effort to claw back and take the lead," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "We put ourselves in a great position and it was really great to see our players come alive and make some sensational plays. We have a lot of good going on and will keep leaning on each other to gain the confidence we need."
Eslinger and the Beavers will return to the court on Monday, Jan. 14 when they travel to the University of Redlands for a 7 p.m. clash.