Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Basketball team was stunned Thursday afternoon inside of the Graham Athletic Center as the visiting Beavers of the California Institute of Technology pulled off the 86-82 win on Dave Jacobs Court.
Whittier was coming off a huge win over St. Joseph's on Monday and now drop to 3-6, 1-1 SCIAC and have now lost three straight games to the Beavers dating back to last year. Caltech improves to 3-6, 1-0 SCIAC.
The Purple & Gold started off hot going in front 12-4 sparked by back-to-back triples from Eric Davis (Ventura, Calif.) and Louis Kurihara (Culver City, Calif.). WC would then go on to go 5-of-6 from the field over the next three minutes giving them some breathing room. But the Beavers weathered the storm and began chipping away at the lead with a 12-5 run that swung the momentum moving the score to 23-19 in favor of CIT.
Kurihara got the Poets back on track with a pair of free throws that deadlocked the game and Reggie Dixon (Oxnard, Calif.) added a layup and free throw to put WC back on top but again CIT responded with an 8-2 spurt, which included back-to-back three-pointers from Matthew Riker and Spencer Schneider.
The rest of the half went back and forth with the Beavers answering the Poets basket for basket until the 3:15 mark when Whittier put together an 11-2 run with Davis, Victor Nwaba (Los Angeles, Calif.), and Kurihara responding from deep, which gave the Purple & Gold a 48-42 halftime lead.
Out of the break CIT put up a quick five points to pull within two. Kurihara then added back to back and ones, which increased the Poet lead back to double digits with 13:28 to play, but again Caltech chipped away with Schneider going off with 10-unanswered, which included two from deep that moved the score to 67-63.
The Beavers continued to light it up from deep as Marcus Gee knocked down a three-pointer from dead on. Jacob Aruta (Stockton, Calif.) stopped the run with a layup to move the deficit back to four but again CIT quickly responded with another three-pointer that cut the margin to one. The first lead in the game for Caltech came at the 7:23 mark with Alec Andrews knocking down another three-pointer and that sparked five straight as CIT went on top 77-74 with 3:04 to play.
Nwaba though came up clutch with under three-minutes to play adding a fade away jumper off the glass, which counted, while picking up the and one. He added the free throw that tied the game up but that's as close as WC would get as the Beavers would add a 9-5 run to close out the game, which included the go-ahead triple from Andrews and layup from Schneider.
Whittier shot 47% from the field but saw Caltech go off at a 54% clip, which included a 52% shooting night from behind the arc. The rebounding battle was deadlocked at 34-34 and Whittier was able to force 16 turnovers but were unable to capitalize as they came away with only 11 points.
Nwaba added a game high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting with seven boards. Kurihara had a game with 19 and Davis picked up a near double double with 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Off the bench, Aruta played big minutes adding 12 points on 4-6 shooting and four rebounds.
Whittier returns to non-conference action next Friday, December 29 when they host UC Santa Cruz beginning at 6:00pm. They then wrap 2017 the very next day hosting Gordon on December 30 with tip-off set for 3:00pm.