CLAREMONT, CA. – The first round of the Sixth Street Rivalry went to the Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball Team as the Sagehens took down Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 73-65 at Roberts Pavilion on Thursday night. It was also the Sagehens' first victory in SCIAC play. Daniel Rosenbaum led the offense, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven boards while Alex Preston anchored the low post with five blocks to go with 10 points and seven rebounds. The Sagehens' offense had an efficient performance, shooting 46.2% from the field. On the defensive end, Pomona-Pitzer held the Stags' offense to 34.8% from the field and out-rebounded them 41 to 35.
Season Impact: The Sagehens improve their record to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the SCIAC.
Tenacious defense characterized the opening half of the rivalry game as both teams struggled to string a significant run. In what has been a tight matchup, the first half yielded seven lead changes. Alex Preston got the Sagehens started by scoring on a closely-defended jumper and getting fouled in the process. He converted the following free throw. After the Stags hit two three-pointers to take a 6-4 lead, Rosenbaum hit a midrange baseline jumper to tie the game.
The two teams struggled to find momentum on offense after as both sides went scoreless for a two-minute span. Jack Boyle broke the drought with a face-up jumper with 14:08 left in the half and Winston Nelson followed with some nifty footwork in the post to extend the lead 10-6. Miles President later went for a layup, but his attempt was stuffed by Pavle Rohalj, igniting a fast break. Adam Rees drilled a three-pointer to cap a 7-0 run, putting the Sagehens up 13-6. However, the Stags tied the game up with a 7-0 rally of their own.
Later, as the Stags led 29-24 with 1:58 remaining, Rosenbaum made it a one-possession game with a three off a pass by Elan. After a free throw by Stags' Jeremy Horn brought CMS up by three, Elan mustered some magic with less than 10 seconds on the shot clock when he maneuvered through the Stags defense, thanks to screens by Rosenbaum and Preston, and got the layup to cut the lead 30-29 at halftime.
The Sagehens' offense started cooking in the second half, thanks to some crafty shot-creation from Elan and Rosenbaum. Trailing 32-29, the Sagehens strung a significant comeback sparked by two straight baskets from Elan, followed by a layup in the post by Rosenbaum. Rees later got involved with two free throws and Corbin Koch drove into traffic for a layup to extend the lead 39-32. With 14:16 left in the game, Elan kept the Sagehens going by driving into the paint and throwing a floater to make it 43-36.
On an inbound play with seven seconds left on the shot clock, Elan combined with Boyle on a give-and-go play and drilled at triple to extend the lead 48-40. After a thunderous block on President by Rohalj, Rosenbaum followed with an and-one layup to extend the lead 51-40, their first double-digit lead of the game. With 7:17 remaining in the game, Alex Preston attempted to convert a layup on the post while defended by Jeremy Horn of CMS. Preston missed, but got his own rebound in front of the basket and threw up a circus shot that rolled into the net, extending the lead 56-43. Preston made a highlight play again with 4:28 left on the clock when Rosenbaum found him cutting down the baseline as the sophomore rose up for the jam to make it 63-51. The Sagehens delivered the dagger with 3:09 left when Preston had the ball in the top of the key and found an open Rees from the top of the perimeter. Rees converted the triple to give the Sagehens a 14-point advantage at 67-53, putting the game out of reach.
Up Next: The Sagehens will next host Bethesda University for a non-conference showdown next Thursday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m.