Sagehens Take SCIAC Opener, Hold Off Chapman 60-54

Sagehens Take SCIAC Opener, Hold Off Chapman 60-54

Claremont, Calif. - Pomona-Pitzer used a stifling defense to take a 23-13 lead into halftime, then held off several second half challenges from Chapman to hold on for a 60-54 win on Wednesday evening at Voelkel Gymnasium in the SCIAC opener for both teams.

Sophomore guard Kyle McAndrews (Seattle, Wash.) had a game-high 14 points, while senior guard Harrison Green (New York, N.Y. - pictured) had 11 key points off the bench (all in the second half) for the Sagehens, who improve to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the SCIAC with the win. Chapman slips to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.

Pomona-Pitzer built its lead up to 12 points on four different occasions in the second half, but Chapman kept battling back to get the game back down to single digits. The Panthers gave themselves a chance to steal the game late as a three-pointer by Taylor Hamasaki made the score 58-54 with 1:17 to play.

After earning a stop, the Panthers had a chance to get it down a single possession game, but sophomore guard Michael Cohen (Tarzana, Calif.) had the key play of the game, picking Hamasaki's pocket near midcourt and taking off for a breakaway lay-up with 20 seconds left. Chapman had three attempts from three-point territory in the closing seconds, but were unable to come any closer.    

After Chapman scored the first basket of the game, the Sagehens used an 11-0 run, capped off by a Cohen three-pointer, to take an 11-2 lead with 13:36 left in the half.  Two Hamasaki foul shots with 8:28 left in the half capped off a 7-0 run that brought the score back to within 11-9, but senior guard Xavyr Moss (Federal Way, Wash.) stopped the run with a jumper, and the Sagehens were able to take a 23-13 lead into the break on a put-back by junior forward John Weiss (Cleveland, Ohio) with 53 seconds left in the half.

Pomona-Pitzer held Chapman to just 20 percent shooting in the first half (5-20), although the Panthers pulled their percentage up to 43.1 percent for the game by shooting 17-31 after halftime. Green had his 11 points on 3-3 from three-point territory after halftime, to go along with two foul shots, while McAndrews tallied five assists on the day. Hamasaki led Chapman with 10 points and six assists.

The Sagehens will be back in action for another SCIAC game on Saturday when they travel to Redlands for a 7 p.m. tipoff.