Saturday, March 29, 2014

Balanced Attack Propels Caltech to Third Straight Win

Ripollet, Spain -- Playing in the final game of the 2014 International Tour, Caltech overpowered CB Ripollet to win its third straight contest in as many days, 64-50. Ripollet, who plays in the FederaciĆ³ Catalana de Basquetbol, was perhaps the strongest of the four opponents the Beavers faced during the unprecedented trip to Spain. The club, which was formed in 1908, boasts size and experience, but Caltech's confidence and versatility became too much for the home team to handle.

After an energetic warmup (dunking is allowed per FIBA rules), a pre-game ceremony featured introductions of all players, a presentation of gifts to Caltech's coaching staff, followed by the anthems of the United States and Catalonia. From there the friendly turned into a match that heavily favored the Beavers. With their swarming defense, they translated a number of stops into points, and forced Ripollet to call an early timeout, up 14-4.

Lawrence Lee scored 8 points in the first period and Caltech held Ripollet, a team that averages 73 points per match, to 7.

Caltech was flowing beautifully into the second period and gained a 20-point advantage thanks to brilliant play from Ricky Galliani, Andrew Hogue, and Lawrence Lee.

"We really set the tone early," said Andrew Hogue. "Everything was within the offense. We were patient but took every opportunity to be aggressive. It was a well balanced attack and the best I've seen."

Bryan Joel (9 points and 3 assists) continued his spectacular shooting with three 3-pointers, and Nasser Al-Rayes (10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots) dominated the paint.

The second half was no different as the Beavers were able to get every player into the rotation throughout the game. Darius Simmons, Matt Edwards, Rob Anderson, Nick Buoniconti, and Josh Sonola all contributed while Naveen Tadepalli provided some solid minutes at point guard.

When Kc Emezie brought the crowd to its feet with a driving two-hand dunk on the baseline, Caltech was up by 25, its largest lead of the game.

"I was pretty excited," said Emezie. "I knew they made a defensive mistake because they started yelling in Spanish."

Ripollet, a top team in its league and one up for promotion, responded with a 10-0 run, but the Beavers maintained control. David LeBaron (5 points) converted a tough drive with a high-arching shot off the glass and the Beavers kept the lead at double digits in the fourth period.

Caltech finished the game with a 47-31 edge on the glass, 19-7 on the offensive boards. Lee finished with 16 points and 8 boards. Galliani scored 12 and added 8 rebounds. Emezie had 11 points and Hogue 7. Luke Lango tallied 3 assists and 2 steals.

The Beavers completed the journey with a 3-1 record, having won three straight.

"Our confidence was high, in ourselves and in the system," said Bryan Joel. "Winning one gave us confidence to go to the next game. And we could fix things in the second half that we were doing wrong. We learned."