WALLA WALLA, WA. – The No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball team fell in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 2 Whitman 83-74 on Saturday night at the Sherwood Center.
The Sagehens were led by senior Daniel Rosenbaum who had a team-high 20 points in the loss. Rosenbaum ends his career as a Sagehen as the No. 2 on the All-Time scoring list with 1,744 points. Sophomore Alex Preston had 14 points going 7-8 from the field while junior James Kelbert came off of the bench with 13 points.
Pomona-Pitzer outshot, outrebounded and had more assists than the Blues, but it was their 23 turnovers that came back to haunt them in the end.
The Sagehens gave teams fits so far in the tournament and that continued to be true in the first half as Whitman shot just 10-33 from the floor for 30.3% and just 3-13 from three for 23.1%. The Sagehens shot well from the field as they went 13-26 for 50%, however, ball security became an issue as they turned the ball over 12 times in the first half.
Pomona-Pitzer jumped ahead early on as the Blues struggled shooting from three out of the gate. The Sagehens came out with a quick 6-2 lead and maintained their slight advantage into the first media timeout up 10-8 with 14:46 left in the half.
Turnovers began to hurt the Sagehens as they struggled to break the Blues' press. The two teams traded three-point baskets and came to a 19-19 tie at the under 12 media timeout. Whitman's offense went cold as they only came away with two points in the next six minutes of the half. Pomona-Pitzer was able to extend their lead to seven points at 28-21 with 6:32 left until halftime.
Pomona-Pitzer then began to become the cold team on offense as they struggled to make buckets late in the first. The Blues were able to close the gap after getting into the bonus as some late free-throws closed the lead to just two points for the Sagehens as they went into the locker room with a 36-34 lead. Preston led the Sagehens with 10 points.
Whitman came out got back to their style of basketball in the second half. The Blues went from shooting 30% from the field and 23% from three in the first half to 51% from the floor and 35% from three in the second half.
The Blues came out and tied it early at 38-38 as the Sagehens committed four-straight turnovers to start the half and gifted Whitman an early second half lead. Whitman sparked a run as its three-point shooting began to heat up. The Blues extended their lead to the largest of the night thus far at 10 points, 57-47. Whitman continued to push the ball on offense and played at a fast pace and got the lead to 67-52 with 7:13 to play.
After facing their largest deficit of the game, the Sagehens began to mount a comeback as they forced some turnovers and converted some big offensive possession. The Sagehens got some turnovers and quick buckets late to cut the lead down to nine points at 78-69, but time ran out on Pomona-Pitzer as Whitman closed the game out at the free-throw line and fought off a resilient Sagehen team at home.
With the loss, the Sagehens end their historic year at 26-3 overall as the No. 11 team in the nation. They set program records for regular season wins, conference wins, win-streak and earned SCIAC Regular Season and Tournament Championships for the first time since 2008 as well as their first NCAA Tournament win since 2003.