SANTA CRUZ, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball Team dropped their season opener at the Mission Inn Classic against Linfield College 79-70 on Saturday evening.
The Sagehens (0-1) tried to keep up with the Wildcats (2-0) for most of the game, staying within striking distance but never closing the gap. The Wildcats did a great job finding the basket every time the Hens got close, shooting 51.1 percent from the field.
Junior Daniel Rosenbaum led the Hens with 15 points, going 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. He also had six rebounds. Freshman Alex Preston impressed in his debut, scoring 13 points, while Micah Elan contributed 11 points, three assists, and a steal.
The two teams traded baskets early in the game, as neither side were able to put on a significant run. After Rosenbaum hit a jumper to close the deficit 16-15 with 12:32 left in the first half, the two teams remained scoreless for two and a half minutes until Dempsey Roggenbuck broke the drought with a free throw for Linfield. Later, after Jack Boyle converted a backdoor layup off a pass from Preston from the high post to make it 28-27 for the Hens, the Wildcats converted back-to-back three pointers to take a five-point lead. Preston continued his impressive play, making a dunk off an assist from Elan to bring the deficit down 33-30 with 1:58 left and Winston Nelson followed with a free throw to bring it within two. However, Linfield closed the half with a 4-0 run to take a 37-31 lead.
The Hens opened the second half cold as the Wildcats took advantage with a 9-0 run to extend their lead 46-33. Rosenbaum broke the drought with a much-needed three-pointer, but the Hens could string consecutive baskets to go on a run while they held the Wildcats scoreless for a two-minute period. With 9:56 remaining, Roggenbuck drilled a three-pointer to build a 56-42 lead for Linfield. The Wildcats continued to set the tone with their defense as the Hens could not find their offensive rhythm for the remainder of the half.
Pomona-Pitzer will play again tomorrow on November 19 at 3:30 p.m. as they face tournament host UC Santa Cruz.