PASADENA, Calif. (Nov. 29, 2014) – Sophomore Ricky Galliani (Menlo Park, Calif. / Sacred Heart Prep) made an impact off the bench as the Caltech men's basketball team endured a second straight night of cold shooting in a 76-48 loss to six-time defending Northwest Conference champion Whitworth University, which is receiving votes in the D3hoops.com poll, on Saturday night.
The Pirates separated early, building a 15-6 lead in the opening four minutes, and the Beavers simply could not keep pace as shot after shot failed to fall. Whitworth, which has qualified for nine consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, improves to 3-2 with the win while Caltech dips to 0-5.
"That's why we played them – to experience what a championship program is like," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "We played hard and competed. The pressure defense was better, and the whole bench was pumped when we forced a shot clock violation. We're working on better defensive techniques and it showed with our fouls being way down."
While the Beavers shot just 36 percent from the field and 10 percent from long range, the Pirates lit up the gym with a 57.7 shooting percentage (52.9 on three-pointers) and dominated both the assist-to-turnover battle (20:13 – 8:14) and down low (38-18 points in the paint).
Senior Andrew Hogue (Arroyo Grande, Calif. / Arroyo Grande) led the Beavers with nine points while sophomore Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) contributed eight points and four rebounds. Galliani and sophomore Luke Lango (San Diego, Calif. / Pacific Ridge School) chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively, in just 33 minutes combined off the bench, with Galliani adding a team-high six rebounds in just 19 minutes. Sophomore Nick Buoniconti (Orlando, Fla. / Lake Highland Prep) mustered two points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in just 16 minutes coming off the bench as every healthy Caltech player saw at least three minutes of action in the game.
"I'm glad we got all the guys in today," Eslinger said. "We can see we are a deep team, and I loved the way we finished out the game. We've gotten some terrific senior leadership from Hogue and [Bryan] Joel, who have learned so much over the years and are trying to pass that on to the young guys so we can really build something."
Eslinger and the Beavers will enjoy a well-deserved two-week respite as they next return to the court on Saturday, Dec. 13 as host to UC Santa Cruz.