PASADENA, Calif. – Caltech posted their third straight win in thrilling fashion with a 63-62 win over UC Santa Cruz on Saturday afternoon at the Braun Athletic Center in the second game of the SCIAC Classic.
The three straight wins marks the first time since the 1994-1995 season Caltech (3-5) has posted three consecutive wins.
"This is a great win today. This team learned a lot about who they are," head coach Oliver Eslinger said. "Every player made a big contribution to this victory. They dug deep and pulled out a great win."
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During the contest Ryan Elmquist became the 11th men's basketball player in Caltech history to score 1,000 career points. In addition to his scoring mark, the native of Woodbury, Minn., broke Ben Turk's school record for blocks in a career. Elmquist now has 128 career blocks which surpasses the previous mark of 126.
"Ryan has worked so hard for four years and today is a great testament to that hard work. He is a great example of what a Caltech student-athlete should be," Eslinger said.
In the opening half Caltech never trailed and held a lead as large at 16 points. Alex Runkel gave the Beavers a 22-6 edge with 6:27 left until halftime before the Banana Slugs chipped away. UC Santa Cruz eventually dwindled their deficit into single digits as Caltech took a 32-25 lead into the locker room.
UC Santa Cruz (5-8) came out in the second half on an 18-11 scoring spurt as they took a 43-37 lead with 12:59 remaining in the contest. Neither team held a lead larger than six points the rest of the contest. The Beavers took the lead for good at 54-52 with 7:30 remaining on a Todd Cramer lay-up. Caltech grew their lead to six points at 61-55 with 3:55 left before the Banana Slugs responded and set-up a thrilling finish.
Cramer scored the last points for Caltech with 1:18 left which gave the home squad a 63-59 edge. Samuel Allen hit one of two at the foul line seven seconds later to bring UC Santa Cruz within three points. During that same sequence, Allen rebounded his second miss at the foul line and his lay-up brought the visitors deficit to one point.
A Caltech turnover gave the ball back to UC Santa Cruz with under a minute left. Ryan Matsuoka missed a jumper with 33 seconds left but the Banana Slugs grabbed an offensive rebound. Allen missed a jumper but another offensive rebound set-up the conclusion. Matsuoka took the inbounds pass with 2.6 seconds left but couldn't get up a shot as he slipped to the floor as time expired.
Cramer led all scorers as he tallied 20 points in 34 minutes of action. Elmquist notched 17 points and four blocks on his banner day. Mike Edwards posted an 11-point effort to aid in the Beavers win.
In the first game of the Classic co-hosted by Cal Lutheran and Caltech, Pacific Lutheran used a strong second half shooting effort to defeat Cal Lutheran 70-58.
On Sunday afternoon at Cal Lutheran, UC Santa Cruz will play Cal Lutheran at 1:00 p.m. while Pacific Lutheran and Caltech square off at 3:00 p.m. inside the Gilbert Sports Center.