PASADENA — The Occidental men's basketball team opened the regular season with a 68-59 win at Caltech in the 110 Freeway Rivalry on Friday night.
Austin DeWitz led Oxy with 19 points and 12 rebounds on 8 for 13 shooting, Zach Baines went inside and attacked the basket to get 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting with seven rebounds, and Caleb Yellin-Flaherty added 19 points on 8 for 15 shooting, getting to good spots on the court when his man helped.
Baines had the two most impressive plays of the game, pinning a layup off the backboard high above the rim in the first half and flying high to block 3-point shot into the Caltech student section in the second half.
DeWitz was a presence on defense, particularly on the defensive boards and changing shots around the basket.
Ryan Kaneshiro played outstanding on ball defense, grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists and no turnovers. Jonny Crosthwaite chipped in six points and five assists and Jacob Adler had five points, three assists and four rebounds off the bench.
"It was a good team win tonight against a well-coached Caltech squad that always competes for 40 minutes. They have good young players and will continue to improve," Oxy head coach Brian Newhall said. "Austin and Zach made some plays tonight, and Ryan, Caleb and Jonny continue to anchor us on defense with small, subtle winning plays."
The Tigers were at their best when they played with energy on defense and got out in transition on misses and turnovers.
"When we weren't loose with the ball, I thought we were able to get some easy baskets by running in the first half," Newhall said. "Our urgency to contest shots on close outs in the first half really helped us jump in front."
Oxy held Caltech to just 23 points in the first half, forcing tough contested outside shots and bothering shooters with its length. In the second half the Tigers maintained their double digit lead which got as big as 18 points.
Caltech was led by a pair of solid first years off the bench and its junior point guard Alec Andrews, who scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals. Stephen Hei led Caltech with 14 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers, and Noah Barnes had 12 points on 5 for 7 shooting.
The Tigers shot 48 percent from the field while holding Caltech to just 39 percent shooting, and outrebounded the Beavers 42-32.
Season Impact: After winning both of their exhibition games, including a 89-79 victory over NAIA No. 23 Westmont last Saturday night, the Tigers improve to 1-0.
Caltech falls to 1-1. The Beavers opened the season with a 70-68 win over Oberlin.
Next Game: The Tigers are back in action on Monday against West Coast Baptist at 7 p.m. for its home regular-season opener at Rush Gym.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram