WHITTIER, Calif. – Whittier fought off a hard charging Caltech squad 70-68 Saturday evening in a SCIAC men's basketball game at the Graham Athletics Center.
The Poets (9-9, 4-3) offense came from long range as they hit 10 of their 32 attempts from behind the arc. Those 32 attempts were the most by a SCIAC team this season.
Todd Cramer flirted with a triple-double with a 13-point, 11-assist, eight-rebound performance in 36 minutes of action. The freshman's 11 assists breaks the Caltech (4-14, 0-7) record for most assists in a game. Cramer and Scott Lyons previously held the record of nine assists in one game.
Will Dooris scored eight of Caltech's first nine points but Whittier still held a 15-9 lead with 13:47 left in the opening half. With Whittier holding a 17-9 edge, Caltech scored nine points on four consecutive possessions to take an 18-17 lead with 9:13 left in the half. Whittier responded with back-to-back three-pointers to push their lead to five points.
Caltech responded to that five-point deficit and retook the lead at 27-26 on a Ryan Elmquist put back with 5:31 remaining. It was the last lead of the game for the Beavers. The home squad finished the opening stanza on a 13-5 scoring spurt in taking a 39-32 lead into the locker room.
The Beavers opened the final half by scoring on their first three possessions to trim their deficit to 40-38 less than two minutes into the half. However, the Poets regained momentum with a 14-5 scoring effort to take a 54-44 edge with 13:11 remaining. A valiant Caltech squad fought back with a scoring run of its own and got within 56-54 on a Mike Paluchniak three-pointer with 9:32 left in the game.
Whittier seemed to regain control of the game over the next three-plus minutes as they took a 66-58 lead with 6:42 left. Caltech chipped away and got their deficit down to one possession at 68-66 when Elmquist hit the second of two free throws with 2:48 left. The two squad's traded field goals on consecutive possessions to make the score 70-68 Poets with 2:08 left.
After an empty possession by Whittier, the Beavers turned it over on their next possession with 47 seconds left. A defensive stand by Caltech set-up one last try but Paluchniak's running jumper hit off the front of the rim as time expired.
Elmquist scored a team high 16 points while Edwards rounded out the double digit producers with an 11-point evening.