LOS ANGELES, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer men's basketball team cleared it's first hurdle for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, defeating Occidental College 71-60 in the SCIAC Semifinal on Friday night. The Sagehens' defense was the highlight of the evening, as the team held the Tigers to a 36.8 field goal percentage and contested for five blocks. The victory sets the Sagehens up for a SCIAC Final matchup against cross-street rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tomorrow at Roberts Pavilion at 7:30 p.m.
Micah Elan led the Sagehens with 19 points and grabbed six rebounds while Daniel Rosenbaum added 13 points with six boards. Adam Rees also scored 13 points while Alex Preston led the Hens with eight rebounds off the bench.
The Hens quickly built a 12-5 lead early in the first half, but some hot shooting from Zach Baines brought the Tigers within two. The Tigers managed to tie the game, but the tie was only short-lived as the Hens broke out for a 10-0 run to take a 29-19 lead with 5:53 left in the half. Elan provided some momentum-killing baskets to thwart any rallying opportunities from the Tigers, hitting two straight three-point baskets to prevent Occidental from closing the gap within single digits. The Hens led 39-27 at the half.
With their backs against the wall, the Tigers managed to show more fight in the second half, making tough shots to go on a 9-4 run, cutting the deficit to 43-36. With 14:25 left in the game, Elan hit two consecutive three-pointers and James Kelbert hit two free throws for an 8-0 run to extend the lead 54-38. Occidental Tigers refused to go away, breaking out with a huge 9-0 run with 5:18 remaining to cut the lead 62-58. After a timeout by the Sagehens, Adam Rees hit a cutting Rosenbaum with a pass in the paint for an easy layup to make it 64-58. The Tigers resorted to sending the Sagehens to the free throw line to save clock in the final minute, but the Hens closed out the game to advance to the final match.