By: Head Men's Basketball Coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger
PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2015) -- The Caltech Men's Basketball Alumni Game went down to the wire for the second year in a row on Saturday afternoon, with Team Turk winning out, 76-73, over Team Haussler. Last year, the game – now a part of the seventh annual basketball alumni event – went to overtime. On Saturday, a last three-point attempt by all-time leading scorer Mike Edwards went in and out, as Team Turk held on for the victory.
Team Turk sprinted out to an early lead behind hot shooting from Scott Davies, Steve Tsai and Wei Li. With the three guards finding the bottom of the net from the perimeter, Ben Turk was able to direct the paint. The big fella had a double-double in the first half alone, with 11 points and 11 boards. Dave Zito directed the team from the point guard spot and Team Turk gradually built a double digit lead.
Team Haussler would not go quietly into halftime, however, and cut the deficit to eight at 46-38 heading into the intermission. Arjun Chandar steadied Team Haussler from the outside as he scored eight points and provided balance while Travis Haussler worked the interior. Edwards, playing in his first-ever alumni event, had to shake off some rust before he eventually canned some crucial baskets.
The lead held strong for Team Turk until around the five-minute mark in the second stanza, when Team Haussler came back and took over as Edwards heated up and Chandar continued his strong shooting. Some clutch offensive rebounds by Collin Murphy, Ethan Boroson and Bo Kunesh enabled Team Haussler to stay close, and when it seemed Team Turk had the finale in its grasp, Team Haussler came up with a pivotal steal in its full court press to set up the final possession.
Down three, Team Haussler inbounded from the side, worked the ball to Edwards – Caltech's all-time leader in points – who had a clean look, but it rimmed out and Team Turk was able to claim the victory after squandering as much as an 18-point margin in its favor.
"It was a fantastic game," Zito said, after dishing out a game-high eight assists. "Our team had experience in our favor. Wisdom."
Turk, Caltech's all-time leader in rebounds and one of its 1000-point scorers, finished with 14 points and 20 rebounds. "Rebounding is the easy part," he said afterward. "20 and 20 was the goal. I came up a little short but it's ok. We came out on top."
Davies, a reigning MVP of the event, finished with 22 points while Tsai, one of Caltech's all-time best 3-point shooters, had 19 points. Together, they were 7-of-14 from long range. Ziying Wang and Li contributed nine points apiece while Eric Stout added two.
Team Haussler was led by Chandar's 22 points as he went 5-of-10 from three-point land. Edwards finished with 18 points and three steals while Haussler had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Murphy and Boroson combined for 15 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Kunesh had four assists and Bryan Hires had four points, seven rebounds and a game-high five steals.
Overall, it was a terrific game. Both teams moved the ball and played hard. In the end, it was Team Turk's control that won out.
"We executed," Zito said. "Executed."
Thanks to all the alumni and fans who continue to make this such a great event. We hope to see everyone again next year, as well as at some more of the current team's games!