PASADENA — Ryan Kaneshiro and Zach Baines came up with big plays down the stretch and the Occidental men's basketball team played excellent defense all night, beating Caltech 61-49 on the road on Saturday.
Kaneshiro, who is leading the SCIAC is assists per game at 6.8, played bully ball in the post, backing his way to his spots. Normally the quarterback of Oxy's offense as a passer, Kaneshiro was assertive, played physical and elevated to make 5 of his 9 shots, many of them at important times in the second half when Oxy desperately needed a bucket.
Kaneshiro also played outstanding defense on the perimeter, helping limit Caltech drives to the basket that open up their outside shooting.
The Tigers led by nine points at halftime, Caltech cut it to five midway through the second half and then Oxy locked down on defense. The Tigers, which held Caltech to just 40 percent shooting and 4 for 23 from the three-point line on the game, only gave up seven points in the last 8 minutes of the game, including three in the past minute when the result had been decided.
Zach Baines, the SCIAC's leading scorer, was aggressive going to the basket, finishing with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds. He was named to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week last week after averaging 31.7 ppg and 8 rpg during a hot stretch that included setting Oxy's single-game scoring record at 50 in a win over Pacific (Ore.).
Austin DeWitz, struggled with some turnovers and foul trouble early, but controlled the boards with a game-high 14 rebounds, and made a handful of important plays for the Tigers when it mattered. He also had seven points and a steal, a block and an assist.
Jacob Adler was an important offensive spark off the bench for Oxy, scoring 13 points on 5 for 9 shooting. Jonny Crosthwaite had nine points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals, and Caleb Yellin-Flaherty added seven points, five rebounds and four steals.
Marcus Gee and Spencer Schneider led Caltech with 13 points each.
Season Impact: Oxy improves to 13-0 overall and 4-0 in SCIAC. The Tigers are off to one of their best starts in the last 10 years.
Caltech falls to 6-5 overall and 0-2 in SCIAC. The Beavers lost to Cal Lutheran in their SCIAC opener.
Next Game: The Tigers are back in action on Wednesday, hosting defending SCIAC Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7 p.m. The Stags are 7-4 and 1-1 so far this season.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram