Claremont, Calif. - Senior guard Xavyr Moss (Federal Way, Wash.) scored 21 points but fouled out with 5:44 to play, and Whittier was able to take advantage and capture a 69-64 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday evening in the regular season finale for both teams at Voelkel Gymnasium.
Both teams had already clinched SCIAC bids coming in, but the loss means that the Sagehens (14-10, 9-7 SCIAC) will be the fourth seed and will travel to top-seeded Redlands on Friday for the semifinals, while Whittier (14-11, 10-6 SCIAC) will be the third seed and travel to second-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Moss was the only Sagehen in double figures, as he shot 8-12 from the floor and 4-6 from three-point land to keep Pomona-Pitzer in the game for a while. He picked up his fourth with the score tied at 49-49 with 11:23 to go, and Whittier was able to build a four-point lead at 53-49 with 10:17 left.
Pomona-Pitzer responded for a moment, and a three-pointer from senior forward Po Grant (Brookline, Mass.) in the left corner put the Sagehens ahead 57-56 with 8:06 to go. However, Whittier went back ahead 60-57, and Moss was insrted back into the game, but Moss picked up his fifth trying to hustle for a rebound at the 5:44 mark.
Aaron Fernandez made both foul shots after Moss replaced, and the Sagehens were able to get within 62-60 on a fast break lay-up from sophomore guard Kyle McAndrews (Seattle, Wash.) and a foul shot from junior forward Jake Klewer (Tucson, Ariz.) with 3:52 left.
After Pomona-Pitzer missed a possible go-ahead three-pointer, Eric Goedde scored on a put-back with 2:39 left, and after a lay-up rolled off the rim for McAndrews, Goedde knocked down a three-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to make the score 67-60 with 1:47 left.
The Sagehens had one last rally, as Klewer made two foul shots and sophomore guard Michael Cohen (Tarzana, Calif.) drove to the hoop for a lay-up to cut the Whittier lead to 67-64 with 37 seconds left. However, Chris Barnes-Williams made both ends of a one-and-one with 22 seconds left, and the Sagehens were unable to get a good look at the basket as the clock ticked away.
Pomona-Pitzer used a 15-0 run early in the game to turn a 7-4 deficit into a 19-7 lead on a three-point play from Cohen. However, Whittier came right back with a 13-3 run to pull within 22-20 with 7:56 left in the half and the teams stayed close the rest of the half. The Sagehens did build a seven point lead at 36-29, but Willie Mebane hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Poets within 36-32 going into the break.
Moss then hit three three-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half to hold off Whittier temporarily, but the Poets eventually took their first lead since the opening minutes with 11:19 to go on a Dylan Irwin lay-up.
Barnes-Williams led Whittier with 15 points, while Irwin came off the bench to add 12, and Goedde had five of his nine during the pivotal run late in the game.
Pomona-Pitzer was swept by Redlands in both games this season, although the home game on Jan. 26 did go to overtime before the Bulldogs prevailed 95-86.