PASADENA, Calif. (July 15, 2015) – The Caltech men's basketball team has completed its schedule for the 2015-16 season, which will include 13 home games and a second consecutive exhibition game at a Division I school. The home opener is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Head Coach Oliver Eslinger's squad opens the year with its second straight exhibition against a Division I opponent in the University of San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Toreros are members of the West Coast Conference and participated in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2013-14.
"The experience our guys get playing in a Division I arena and in such a different environment is incredible," Eslinger said. "Most importantly, it is a fun venture for the players and our fans who I'm sure will make the trek to see us face scholarship athletes. It certainly provides another challenge and testing ground for us too."
Caltech opens the season with the second annual 110 Freeway Rivalry at Occidental College on Saturday, Nov. 14. Last year's inaugural event in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Braun Athletic Center saw the Beavers jump out to an 11-4 lead before going down by as many as 15 points, pulling back within four with six minutes to play and finally falling in a 90-81 barnburner.
"The 110 Rivalry game is an exciting event to start the season," Eslinger said. "We wanted a game that everyone could be engaged in, and the players and fans look forward to it jumpstarting the year. It also gives us a sense of where we are at, as it's always going to be tightly contested with our conference rival."
Caltech follows the season opener with a two-game road trip to Washington to face a pair of regionally ranked, 20-win teams in seven-time Northwest Conference champion No. 13 Whitworth University and runners-up Whitman College, which received votes in the final D3hoops.com national ranking.
"We have wanted to take a Washington trip for some time and now that we have a good amount of experience on our team, it will be a great test for us," Eslinger explained. "Going on the road is always challenging, and even more so going up to the Northwest Conference, but we want to be battle-tested as we head into conference play and it will provide a good strength-of-schedule measure."
The Beavers return to Pasadena for Thanksgiving Break, when they host Linfield College on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. and Sarah Lawrence University on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. A home-and-home series with UC Santa Cruz follows, with the Banana Slugs traveling south for the Saturday, Dec. 5 matchup at 5 p.m. and the Beavers heading north on Wednesday, Dec. 16. The regional foes went to overtime last season, with junior Kc Emezie (Waxhaw, N.C. / Marvin Ridge) recording the fifth 20-point game of his career. Caltech also welcomes George Fox University prior to the Winter Recess on Saturday, Dec. 19 looking to avenge last year's 99-96 defeat in which sophomore Lawrence Lee (Hong Kong / Hong Kong International School) set program records for points (38) and field goals made (14) in an NCAA game.
"Putting together a simultaneously tough and balanced non-conference schedule isn't easy," Eslinger pointed out. "It takes months to plan and depends on other schools too, but we are happy with the way this one worked out. We will face all different sorts of styles in a good mix of home and away games that will provide the team with a broad landscape of opposition, which will prepare us well for the conference slate."
Following a 10-day break, Caltech hosts the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the final game of 2015 and last non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 4 p.m. SCIAC play ushers in the New Year as the Beavers welcome the University of Redlands (7-18, 4-12) on Monday, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs were on the other end of Caltech's first conference win since 2011 last February, which kicked off a three-game home win streak during which the Beavers equaled their conference win total over the previous 43 years.
Caltech heads to SCIAC tri-champion Cal Lutheran University (18-7, 12-4) and Oxy (11-14, 7-9) on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and Saturday, Jan. 9, then hosts back-to-back games against NCAA qualifier RV Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (22-7, 12-4) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13 and end-of-year darling Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (10-15, 8-8), which won eight of their final 11 conference games once fully healthy, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16.
The Beavers complete the first leg of conference play with away games at SCIAC tri-champion RV Chapman University (22-5, 12-4) and the University of La Verne (9-16, 5-11) on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 23 and a home date with fourth-place Whittier College (15-11, 9-7) on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Caltech shocked the latter pair with 70-69 and 92-77 victories last February for the program's first three-win season in conference play since 1960-61.
CMS hosts Caltech on Saturday, Jan. 30 and the Beavers welcome Oxy and Cal Lu on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. Caltech hits the road again to face Redlands on Monday, Feb. 8 and Whittier on Saturday, Feb. 13 and returns for the final two home games of the regular season, against La Verne (Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m.) and Chapman (Saturday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.). The regular season comes to a close on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Pomona-Pitzer.
"Once SCIAC play begins, everything is up for grabs," Eslinger said. "Any team can win on any night, and we feel this schedule truly will prepare us as we gather data and learn more about our own team. The players are certainly excited – and confident – to pick up where we left off in February."
The four-team SCIAC Post-Season Tournament will take place Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27, with the NCAA Tournament set to begin the following weekend.
*All game dates, times and locations are subject to change