The top-seeded Pomona-Pitzer men's basketball team won the 2019 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament title for the first time since 2008 with a 68-45 win over third-seeded Occidental on the campus of Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Pomona-Pitzer improves to 25-2 overall and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Occidental moves to 22-5 and will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. The men's selection show will take place at 9:30 a.m. and will be streamed on NCAA.com on Monday, February 25.
In the early stages of the first half, Pomona-Pitzer scored the game's opening bucket before Occidental opened up a 16-2 lead, highlighted by three-pointers from Caleb Yellin-Flaherty and Zach Baines, and a pair of buckets by Austin DeWitz.
The Sagehens snapped the run at 11:13 in the first half when Micah Elan hit a mid-range jumper that sparked a 6-0 run and pulled Pomona-Pitzer to within eight at 16-8. James Kelbert converted a pair of baskets in the paint to half the deficit.
The Sagehens continued to chip away as Elan knocked down a trey, and Corbin Koch made a layup to make it 18-13 with 7:08 to play in the opening frame. Three straight buckets by Pomona-Pitzer gave the hosts a 21-20 edge with 4:16 to play in the first half. A Daniel Rosenbaum three-pointer gave the Sagehens a 26-20 lead late in the stanza before a layup by Kelbert with 41 seconds capped the late first half surge and set the score at 31-22 at halftime.
Pomona-Pitzer continued to find its rhythm in the second half, scoring 13 of the first 17 points to open up a 44-26 lead with 12 minutes to play. The Tigers' Jacob Adler drained a three-pointer to halt the Sagehens' run, and Yellin Flaherty hit a jumper to make it 44-31 with 11:30 left in regulation.
Pomona-Pitzer extended its lead to 20 on a three-pointer by Elan to make it 53-33 with 8:32 remaining in the second half. From there, the Sagehens continued to pull away, eventually seeing out the 68-45 win.
Elan, who was named the tournament MVP, finished with 21 points, while Rosenbaum and Alex Preston added 14 and 12 respectively. Koch chipped in eight rebounds, while Rosenbaum dished out five assists.
Yellin-Flaherty led Occidental with 11 points, while Ryan Kaneshiro added 10 points and seven boards in the loss for the Tigers.