PASADENA (Dec. 16, 2017) – Sophomore forward Calvin Huh (Fort Lee, N.J. / Bergen Tech) fronted a dominant effort for the Caltech men's basketball team, which routed Knox College, 75-45, for the team's largest margin of victory since 93-94. The Beavers blew out Life College 75-33 that year.
Huh came off the bench and turned in his second consecutive five-block game to boost his season average to 1.8 and make him the SCIAC's second leading blocker. The visiting Prairie Fire had little to no answers for Huh's inside defense and rim control, as he led the team with 11 boards, his first game of the season with at least 10 rebounds. Offensively the Beavers moved the ball at a dizzying pace, combining for 20 team assists. Freshman Spencer Schneider (Houston, Texas / Clearbrook) continued his streak of games with at least 10 points by scoring 18 to lead the charge along with senior guard David Kawashima (Studio City, Calif. / North Hollywood) who also had 18 points. Schneider also pulled down 10 rebounds to pick up his third double-double of the season.
Caltech followed its gameplan to a tee, which involved buckling down defensively and allowing the shots to fall where they may. The notion shows in the game's halftime score, as the Knox mustered just 19 first-half points against Huh and the stout Caltech defense.
"We spent a good amount of time prepping our defense so that we could play the way we did," Head Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger said. "I was very happy with how we executed that and our focus throughout the 40 minutes. It makes me proud as a coach when you see the learning happening and the players buying into it. Offensively I thought we shared the ball quite well and guys were really happy for each other and rooting for each other, which I think is an extension of the Colorado Trip. It was such a great trip for our team unity."
As is the case when the team succeeds, Caltech received contributions from all 10 of its players and received aid from another standout showing aside from Huh's. Sophomore Michael Li (Bryn Mawr, Pa. / Radnor) played perhaps his best game as a Beaver, scoring eight points and leading all players with four steals in 20 minutes of action. His strong two-way play prompted Eslinger and his staff to afford him some extra time to impact the game.
"Mike played with phenomenal energy," Eslinger said. "He led us from the point guard spot and we have 10 guys that are good, so when someone goes in, does something well and gets into a great rhythm then we can stay with them. He truly led us today and was all over the place. He was amazing."
It took the Beavers three minutes into the first quarter to score their first basket, but the first two strikes came from deep off the fingertips of Schneider and freshman guard Marcus Gee (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica), who closed the game with eight points and four assists while doing all his damage either from deep or at the free throw line. Caltech held the lead from the second basket onward and peppered Knox with a 57.1 second-half field goal percentage. The Beavers asserted full control over the game when Kawashima caught a pass from Li and knocked down a three-pointer with just over 12 minutes to go to put his side up by 21 points.
"Having a number of guys who can stick the 'three' is certainly a great asset to have," Eslinger said. "We passed up some shots today that we might have taken a few weeks ago but we took one more pass and found an even more open look. I thought Bret [Johnson] was terrific with that today. He's a great shooter but several times found another great shooter to make the play."
Eslinger and the Beavers will begin SCIAC play on Thursday, Dec. 21 when they travel to Whittier College (2-4, 1-0 SCIAC). Caltech will be looking for consecutive victories for the first time this season and with the exception of a Dec. 29 matchup with Buena Vista University, the Beavers will exclusively play the SCIAC for the remainder of the year.