CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's basketball team opened up the Wells Classic with a convincing victory over the Willamette Bearcats on Friday evening, taking them down 85-71. The Sagehens did an excellent job carving up the Bearcats' defense, generating plenty of movement off the ball and moving the rock selflessly to the open man. They shot 51.6% from the floor and made 21 assists as a team. Daniel Rosenbaum led the team with 17 points while Alex Preston notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also collected four blocks. The Sagehens' bench also contributed 26 points.
Season Impact: The Sagehens are now 3-0 this season.
The Sagehens got off to a hot start, going on an 8-0 run to open up the game. After the Bearcats got their first basket of the game with 15:59 on the clock, Jack Boyle quickly defused it with a three-pointer to extend the lead 11-2. Rosenbaum followed with a jumper off a pass by Boyle, scoring his sixth point in less than five minutes. With an 18-7 lead, the Sagehens' offense continued to surge as Corbin Koch went to work by aggressively attack the paint. Koch drew two shooting fouls and converted three free throws. He followed with a huge three-pointer off a pass by Boyle to make it 23-7. The Bearcats finally cut the deficit to single digits with an 8-0 run, making it 29-23 with 5:19 left in the game, but the Sagehens responded as Rosenbaum scored an and-one layup and Koch later converted two free throws to make it 34-23. After the Bearcats cut the lead 37-30, the Sagehens scored seven straight points to close the half with five of the points coming from Micah Elan. They led 44-30 at the half.
Stephen Blomstrom opened the second half with authority, throwing down a dunk off a pass by Elan. However, the Bearcats refused to let the Sagehens build any momentum from that play as they started to trade baskets. The Sagehens refused to let the Bearcats back in the game, responding to every Willamette basket with composure on the offensive end. With a 66-54 lead and 8:32 left in the game, Pavle Rohalj managed to rebound off Koch's missed jumper and reset the offense. The Sagehens made the Bearcats' defense chase as they swung the ball around. After losing his defender with a pump fake, Jayden Depina drove into the paint and kicked out a pass to Matthew Eberle in the right corner. Eberle dribbled inside the perimeter and pulled up for a midrange, completing an incredible sequence of ball movement to make it 68-54. The two sides continued to trade baskets, but the Sagehens drew the dagger with 2:30 left in the game when Elan found Preston for a dunk to extend the lead 82-63, putting the game out of reach. The Sagehens cruised to an 85-71 victory.
Up Next: The Sagehens will play the final day of the Wells Classic tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m as they host No. 4 Whitman College at Voelkel Gym.