PASADENA, CA – The Occidental men's basketball team broke up a close game with a second half spurt as they posted a 70-61 over Caltech.
A tightly contested first half saw the visitors grab a 10-2 lead just before the first media timeout. That eight-point spread was the largest lead the Tigers would enjoy during the first 20 minutes of action. While Caltech didn't take the lead in the first half, they dwindled their deficit down.
With 6:47 left until halftime, Caltech found themselves down just 23-22 when Bryan Joel found Ethan Boroson down low for an easy lay-in. Occidental put their lead back up to five points at 31-26 with just under three minutes left in the frame. Caltech strung together five unanswered points to tie the score with 1:52 left. Conrad Liebowitz scored the final points of the stanza with two foul shots with just under a minute left as Occidental took a 33-31 advantage into the locker room.
The initial 10 minutes of the second half were back-and-forth as Occidental continued to hold the lead but a feisty Beavers team stayed within striking distance. With the Tigers clinging to a 45-44 lead just before the midway point of the frame, Occidental slowly grabbed the game's momentum.
During a five minute stretch Occidental went on a 13-4 scoring spurt to grab their largest lead of the evening at 59-49 with 6:43 remaining. Caltech quickly responded with five consecutive points by Kc Emezie to cut their deficit to 59-54 38 seconds later. However, that five point difference was as close as the Beavers got down the stretch.
Occidental held the Beavers to one field goal during the final 6:05 while hitting 7-of-9 shots from the foul line in addition to converting two field goals to clinch the win.
During the critical second half the Tigers went 13-for-30 from the floor (43.3 percent) while limiting Caltech to an 8-for-29 (27.6 percent) shooting performance.
The Tigers placed four players in double figures led by Ryan Chong's 18 point effort. The sophomore hit a game high four three-pointer en route to his high scoring night.
Caltech will play their first road Saturday night game of the calendar year when they travel to Pomona-Pitzer for a 7 p.m. contest.