With the top spot in SCIAC up for grabs following Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’s double-digit loss to Occidental, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead against Redlands and never looked back, silencing the Bulldogs 81–72.
The Sagehens heavily relied on the scoring production from their starting five, with four of them notching impressive double-digit point totals. Against a persistent Redlands defense who caused 20 P-P turnovers throughout the game, forward Pete Boyle PO ’25 scored a career-high 17 points on a 5-for-11 shooting clip while knocking down four three-pointers.
Other key contributors for the Sagehens included veteran guard Brendan Mora PO ’23, who led P-P in all major statistical categories by scoring 20 points, grabbing 14 boards and dishing six assists. Guard Joe Cookson PO ’25 and center Johnny King PO ’23 were also in the mix, tallying 11 points each while securing five and eight rebounds, respectively.
Including their efficient 44 percent from three and 52 percent shooting overall from the floor, the Sagehens proved victorious by more than doubling the Bulldogs’ rebounds. With a 44–20 advantage on the glass, P-P earned multiple second-chance scoring opportunities and controlled the paint.
The first ten minutes of the game featured a low-scoring, tight back-and-forth affair between the two teams. Boyle began the scoring for the Sagehens by connecting on two consecutive three-pointers — answered immediately by two Bulldog field goals.
Minutes after, Mora shifted through the Redlands defense and smoothly scored two layups, earning a small five-point lead for P-P. However, the Bulldogs instantly responded with a three-pointer and a layup of their own, knotting the game at 10 apiece.
After continuing to trade blow-for-blow, the Sagehens began piecing together a run through the midway point of the first half. By playing excellent defense in their own half, P-P earned four consecutive defensive stops and capitalized by scoring numerous layups, building a 22–15 lead.
Despite Redlands quickly crawling back into the game and getting as close as 29–28, the Sagehens closed out the final four minutes on a 10–4 scoring run, featuring layups from Mora and Ty Bergman PO ’25 and threes from Cookson and Owen Avdalovic PZ ’25. The Sagehens ballooned their lead back to 39–32.
Following this momentum, the Sagehens picked up right where they left off after the break, forcing careless Bulldog turnovers and converting them into layups. After trading baskets, Mora sparked the P-P offense by crashing the offensive glass, which led to an easy putback layup.
After another defensive stop, the veteran guard dished out an assist for a Peyton Mullarkey PZ ’25 three-pointer, and then proceeded to make a contested-and-one layup on the ensuing offensive possession. This rapid 8–3 scoring run forced Redlands to call timeout, growing the Sagehen lead to 55–42.
This break proved vital for the Bulldogs to slowly come back into the picture, staging a 10–2 scoring run within a three-minute frame. The outburst cut the Sagehen lead to five points, after P-P committed costly turnovers in consecutive offensive possessions.
Despite this minor setback, the Sagehens reestablished their offensive groove and preserved their lead for the next seven minutes, trading baskets with the Bulldogs. With six minutes remaining in regulation, a three-point basket by star forward Matthew Eberle PO ’22 extended the Hens’ lead back to double digits.
After trading missed shots, P-P earned trips to the free throw line continuing to grab rebounds and by staying aggressive by inducing Redlands fouls inside the paint. Following pairs of made free throws by Cookson and Boyle, the Sagehens iced the game and earned the 81–72 victory.
In their following neck-and-neck matchup against Chapman, the Hens constantly faced an uphill climb against the Panthers throughout the game. After starting off the game slow, the Hens battled back through the efforts of Mora and King, who scored 24 and 15 points, respectively.
However, after clutch baskets made by the Panthers late in the second half, the Sagehens’ comeback proved too little too late, unable to close the gap by committing costly turnovers in the final minutes of the game.
With this 1-1 result, the Sagehens have an impressive 7–2 record against SCIAC opponents and are 12–4 overall heading into the final month of the season.
P-P will next host Cal Lutheran at Roberts Pavilion tomorrow evening.