Terrassa, Spain -- Playing in its second game in as many days, and third game on the tour, Caltech beat Sferic Basquet 57-52 on Thursday night. It was certainly the most physical match of the week with bodies sprawling all over the tiled floor.
"We are playing all games under FIBA rules, so that's been an adjustment in itself," said Coach Eslinger. "But the officiating has been quite different game to game, and this one was more like one of our physically rough SCIAC games."
The Beavers brought their high octane offense from the night prior and scored 24 points in the first period. The inside-outside game was working well as Lawrence Lee and Bryan Joel combined for 17 points. Lee was dominant in the paint and Joel connected on his first three 3-point attempts. (The NBA line was used for this friendly). Caltech enjoyed a 10-point lead heading into the second, 24-14.
The game was flowing nicely for Caltech, and it seemed as if it would extend the lead. However, Sferic tightened up its defense in the second quarter and capitalized on eight Caltech turnovers to tie the game at 33 by halftime.
In the third period, Sferic grabbed its first lead of the contest, and the game went back and forth from there. But Andrew Hogue (10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals) made two free throws amidst a 10-0 Caltech run that gave the Beavers a lead it would never relinquish.
The fourth was an all out slugfest that saw Caltech outscore the home team 10-9. Ricky Galliani's tough offensive rebound and put-back in traffic summed up the match. Sferic later cut the margin to two with under two minutes to play, but Joel fed a beautiful pass to Lee for a layup that gave Caltech a two possession lead. After a Sferic free throw made it a 3-point game, Hogue provided the final points with a bucket in the paint that sealed Caltech's second victory of the tour.
"That was probably the best team we've played the whole trip," said Galliani. "They were athletic and worked well together. It's a good club."
Caltech once again won the rebound war 43-38 and assisted on 14 of its 22 field goals. The Beavers also had 15 steals.
"We are moving the ball well and figuring out how to play defense against European basketball," added Galliani.
Lee led all scorers with 16 points. Joel added 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. Nasser Al-Rayes tallied 8 points and 8 rebounds while Luke Lango continued his great playmaking with 5 assists and 6 rebounds.
Caltech, now 2-1 during its journey, wraps up the week at CP Ripollet on Friday night.