CLAREMONT, CA. – For the first time since 2008, the No. 14 Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball Team was crowned SCIAC Tournament Champions after a huge lopsided 68-45 victory over Occidental College. It was a complete team effort by the Sagehens as they outplayed the Tigers on both ends of the floor, shooting 50.0% from the field while putting up seven steals, six blocks, and limiting the Tigers to a 34.5 field goal percentage. Micah Elan led the team with 21 points and was named SCIAC Tournament Player of the Year while Rosenbaum added 14 points, five assists, and five rebounds.
Season Impact: The Sagehens improve to a 24-2 record overall and clinch their second SCIAC Tournament title.
The game started off rough for the Sagehens as a barrage of fadeaway jumpers by Occidental's Austin Dewitz got the Tigers' offense started. The visiting side also defended hard, building up to a 16-2 lead with 11:36 left in the opening half. After a layup by Elan ended the drought, the Sagehens locked the Tigers down on defense and began chipping away at the deficit. Corbin Koch returned back to the floor after being subbed off earlier and brought a defensive spark to the Sagehens, forcing a steal and heaving a pass to the racing James Kelbert for an easy layup. On the following possession, the Sagehens forced a miss as Koch grabbed the board, and Kelbert received a long pass from Elan while racing to the basket for another layup. Trailing 20-13 with 6:09 left in the game, the Sagehens went on a 13-0 run, attacking the paint for layups and spacing out to the perimeter to make jumpers, leading 26-20 with 1:48 left. With 1:12 left in the half, Kelbert drove in the paint and kicked out a pass to an open Rosenbaum in the corner for three. Rosenbaum returned the favor to Kelbert, delivering a bullet pass to the junior cutting in the paint for a layup. The Sagehens led 31-22 at halftime.
The Sagehens' offense continued to roll in the second half, as Rosenbaum drove in past his defenders for a layup. Later, Koch found Preston open in the paint, and the big man returned the favor with a huge dunk. Preston followed up with some impressive defense, blocking a three-point attempt by Caleb Yellin-Flaherty. With 14:48 remaining in the game, backup big man Pavle Rohalj ran a give-and-go with Elan as the senior made the layup.
Elan and Pav on the give n' go. Sagehens up 39-26 over Oxy pic.twitter.com/WFRljMvnCj— Sagehens (@Sagehens) February 24, 2019
On the following offensive possession, Rosenbaum missed a three-point attempt, but Koch rose for the offensive board. He kicked out the pass back to Rosenbaum in the corner for the triple.
Rosenbaum? Party of three? pic.twitter.com/osED6I4CAE— Sagehens (@Sagehens) February 24, 2019
Later, Rohalj flashed his nifty footwork, faking out two defenders with a shake and a pivot and scooping in the layup to stretch the lead 44-26. The Sagehens never looked back as Occidental couldn't surmount a comeback. With 2:35 left in the game, Preston punctuated the title with a slam dunk off a cutting pass by Rosenbaum.
Up Next: The Sagehens will await their opponent with the NCAA Selection show for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.