CLAREMONT, CA. – The No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball team punched their ticket to the SCIAC Tournament Championship with their 79-77 win over Redlands in the SCIAC Semifinals on Friday night at Voelkel Gymnasium.
Season Impact: With the win, the Sagehens improve to 24-2 overall and earn a trip to the SCIAC Tournament Championship game.
The Sagehens were led by senior Daniel Rosenbaum who had a game-high 27 points and eight rebounds in the win. Sophomore Alex Preston had 19 points and eight rebounds while junior James Kelbert and junior Micah Elan had 11 and 10, respectively.
Pomona-Pitzer had its offense firing in the first half as they connected for 60.7% of its shots from the field and 6-11 from three for 54.5%. The three-point shooting for Redlands kept them in the game in the first half as the Bulldogs connected on 6 of their 15 three's for 40%.
The Bulldogs came out with some early offense and a couple quick three's to jump out to an early 11-10 lead. The Sagehens responded with some efficient offense and sprung a 9-0 run to take a 19-11 lead with 13:00 minutes left until halftime. Pomona-Pitzer began to run away with the game in the first half after a steal by Koch led to a Kelbert and-one to put the Sagehens up 37-16 forcing a Redlands timeout with 6:45 to go. Redlands got back into the game late as they ended the final six minutes outscoring the Sagehens 16-8 to cut the lead down to 47-34 at the half. Rosenbaum fresh off of his SCIAC Player of the Year award was playing like it in the first half with 20 points and six rebounds.
Pomona-Pitzer came out in the second half and went up early on Redlands with a 16-point lead after a Preston layup with 14:42 to go. Redlands began to chip away at the Sagehens' lead with some good shooting in the second half and cut the lead down to 11 points at 70-59 after a made jumper.
The Sagehens kept their distance for the next five minutes but Redlands cut the lead to 78-73 with just under two minutes to go. Pomona-Pitzer had trouble finding baskets late in the game and allowed Redlands to get within striking distance after a big three cut the lead down to two points at 78-76 with 43 seconds left on the clock.
The Bulldogs got a good look at a three pointer late but it clanked off of the side rim and Kelbert got the ball at the line with a chance to put the game out of reach. Kelbert made the first to put the Sagehens up three and Pomona-Pitzer elected to foul to put Redlands at the line with two seconds remaining. The Bulldogs made the first free-throw and intentionally missed the second to give themselves a chance at the tie. Redlands got the rebounds and missed the put back as the Sagehens fought off the comeback and held on for a trip to the SCIAC Tournament Championship.
Up Next: The Sagehens will next play in the SCIAC Tournament Championship as they host Occidental on Saturday, February 23rd at 7:30 p.m.