The end of Caltech's 310-game conference losing streak spanning 26 years was so big, even school president Jean-Lou Chameau rushed the court to celebrate.
A day later, the two old-time scoreboards in tiny Braun Gym in Pasadena, Calif., remained lit up with the result: Home 46, Visitor 45.
The NCAA Division III Beavers beat Occidental College in their season finale Tuesday night, giving Caltech its first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory since Jan. 23, 1985, when the Beavers defeated LaVerne, 48-47.
“Superb elation, overwhelming emotion, pride,” coach Oliver Eslinger said in describing his feelings Wednesday.
The hero of the game was Ryan Elmquist, who hit the first of two free throws with three seconds remaining. He missed the second and Occidental snagged the rebound, but a desperation shot from half-court missed.
Elmquist, a senior from Woodbury, Minn., had a game-high 23 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots while playing all 40 minutes of his final college game.
The final buzzer touched off a raucous celebration among the crowd of 387 — a packed house at a school known for its science and engineering prowess. The party continued on campus, with students abandoning their studies for the night.
“It’s nice to be able to bring some smiles and celebration to a campus that’s very serious about what it does for the world,” Eslinger said.
Most of the players are majoring in computer science, chemistry, applied math and mechanical engineering. Elmquist carries a 3.5 GPA in computer science and will work for Google after he graduates in June. Caltech graduates earn an average starting salary of $71,000.
“You’re not supposed to be good at basketball if you’re smart, and you’re not supposed to be smart if you’re good at basketball,” said starter Todd Crame, who scored 10 points and also played all 40 minutes.
The Beavers had four non-conference victories and their 5-20 record was the school’s best in 15 years.
TOP 25 HIGHLIGHTS
Men: Kyle Singler scored 28 points to lead No. 1 Duke to a 78-61 victory over visiting No. 24 Temple. Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points in No. 7 BYU’s 84-76 win over Colorado State. Yancy Gates scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Cincinnati to a 58-46 victory at No. 11 Georgetown, the Bearcats’ first road win over a Top 25 team in seven years. Arkansas needed overtime to upset No. 22 Kentucky, 77-76.
Women: Brittney Griner scored 26 points to help No. 3 Baylor bounce back from its fall from No. 1 with a 75-48 victory over Kansas State. Texas Tech snapped the Bears’ 21-game winning streak last week. Monique Reid scored 28 points to lead Louisville to a 68-55 victory over No. 7 DePaul. It was the Cardinals’ fifth home victory over a ranked team this season.
The Pacific-10 Conference has reprimanded California coach Mike Montgomery for publicly criticizing officials. Montgomery made comments critical of the officials on postgame radio interviews following losses at Washington on Feb. 10 and Washington State on Feb. 12. Authorities in Austin, Texas, say suspended Texas forward Alexis Wangmene has been arrested on a drunken driving charge. Texas coach Rick Barnes announced Tuesday that Wangmene was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules.