PASADENA (Nov. 10, 2018) – The Caltech men's basketball team put together two solid halves to fend off a game opponent in Oberlin College, 70-68, to move to 1-0 on the season. Saturday marked the first time any of the current group of Beavers have started the season with a win.
"It feels great," junior guard Alec Andrews (Folsom, Calif. / Folsom) said. "It's the first time I've done it and it's the first game of the year so this might be the momentum we need in non-conference. That way, we're not having to fight an uphill battle."
Andrews led the way for Caltech with 16 points which included a trey from the area in between the three-point line and half-court line in the first half, but also found himself part of a conscious effort to spread the ball around. Andrews added six assists while four different Beavers hit double-figures, including sophomores Gokul Srinivasaragavan (San Ramon, Calif. / Dougherty Valley) and Spencer Schneider, (Houston, Texas / Clearbrook) as well as freshman Noah Barnes (Springfield, Va. / Jefferson) who had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in his Caltech debut. Schneider meanwhile led the home team with seven rebounds against a generally large Yeomen team which the Beavers collectively outrebounded 34-32.
Oberlin came out swinging in the second half, but the Beavers matched the offensive output from the opposition by tightening up on defense. Caltech held Oberlin to 17 points over the game's final 10 minutes and did so without ever relinquishing its 43-37 halftime lead.
"There weren't necessarily a bunch of adjustments that were made," Schneider said. "We've been preaching all year to just do what we can do, execute and do our best. That's all we did; we just kind of stuck to our plan and everybody locked in, played great defense and great offense to help us get the win."
The Beavers' defense received its toughest test on the final possession of the game. Oberlin took the ball off a rebound and began to push the pace with seven seconds remaining in regulation. A Yeomen pass got tipped into the air, stalling time long enough for Barnes to meet the receiver at the three-point line and contest the would-be winning shot that ended up off-line, prompting a celebration from the Caltech players and fans, and perhaps a hint of relief.
"That was a great college basketball game," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "We made enough plays to come out on top and as we said right after, it was a total team effort and that's what we're preaching. We felt like we were very prepared for this game and it worked out."
The Beavers outshot the Yeomen by six percent both in field goal percentage and from beyond the arc. Freshman wing Stephen Hei (Newcastle, Wash. / Liberty) played a role in Caltech's deep shooting ways, going three-for-four from deep while classmate Barnes shot a perfect three-for-three. A positive attendance figure only added to the moment, as 100+ showed up to see what this year's Caltech men's team could be capable of and might only be scratching the surface.
"It was awesome to see," Schneider said. "I think it's important that this team can come out and perform no matter what, but seeing that gets us energized and it's awesome to see the fans come out and support us."
Eslinger and the Beavers will return to Braun Gymnasium on Friday, Nov. 16 for the annual 110 Rivalry game with Occidental College, set for 7 p.m.