With first place in the SCIAC up in the air following Redlands’ loss to Cal Lutheran, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball team made easy work of the Poets, sending a resounding message throughout the conference: the Sagehens are the SCIAC’s top team.
The Sagehens hosted the Poets of Whittier College on Saturday night at 7 in the teams’ second meeting of the season. The Sagehens soared past the Poets en route to a 115-70 point win, P-P’s most significant win margin of the season.
In a game that saw 14 Sagehens get time on the court, P-P took control early and never looked back. Opening the game with a 7-0 run, including five points in the first 1:30 of play from Ty Bergman PO ’25, the Hens looked calm and collected, in complete control of the Whittier squad. P-P could not miss to open the game, shooting a perfect 9-9 from the field, including four made 3-pointers.
Bergman, playing in his first game back after being sidelined with a suspected heart condition which put his basketball career in jeopardy, looked as if he had missed no time at all. The 6-foot-7-inch guard had 13 points and seven rebounds, making an immediate impact in his return.
“I was really out of shape, but it was a blast to be back,” Bergman said.
Bergman’s teammates shared his enthusiasm for being back on the court. Owen Avdalovic PZ ’25 spoke of the Hens’ excitement at having Bergman back.
“Everyone is super excited to have Ty back. He’s a great player and a great dude. We’re just happy for our teammate to be back,” Avdalovic said.
Bergman had a strong presence on the court on Saturday, but that was expected of him. He reached double-digit points and rebounds multiple times this season, including a double-double against Haverford College in December.
Guards Brendan Mora PO ’23 and Joe Cookson PO ’25 continued to run the offense for the Sagehens in the first half, scoring 18 and 12 points respectively. With 13:39 left in the opening half, Cookson sank a two-point jump shot to put the Hens up by 13, one of their largest leads of the half. The two refused to let up on offense, with each scoring multiple more baskets before time expired in the first.
Mora would finish with 22 points and five rebounds, his fifth time surpassing 20 points this season. Cookson would end with an equally impressive stat line, finishing with 20 points and a rebound shy of a double-double.
The Sagehens entered the locker room at the half with a 58-39 point lead, a season-best in points scored in the first half.
Bergman started the scoring for P-P in the second, knocking down a 3-pointer in the first minute of play. Shots from beyond the arc would continue to be the Sagehens’ friend in the second half, shooting 8-16 from three.
The Hens nearly matched their first-half-point total in the second, scoring 57 points to put a cap on a 45-point blowout.
This game finished a month of January in which the Sagehens went 5-1, with decisive wins over multiple SCIAC opponents. Since their loss to University of Puget Sound in November, the Hens are 11-1 and 7-1 against SCIAC teams.
Avdalovic said their success in this stretch is no coincidence.
“We played in the beginning of the year like we deserved something because of our record last year,” Avalovic said. “But that’s just not how it works. You have to earn everything each year.”
The team is looking to win the SCIAC for its fourth straight season, a feat only accomplished in the SCIAC by UCLA from 1920-1923 and P-P from 1997-2000.
With this win, the Hens overtook Redlands and took sole control of first place in the SCIAC standings. However, according to Avdalovic, even with this success, the Sagehens refuse to remain complacent.
“[We] gotta focus on the task at hand,” Avdalovic said.
Jack Paradis PZ ’26 said he doesn’t want his teams’ success to give them a big head.
“It’s a long season…We gotta get back, stay humble, [and] get back to practice,” Paradis said.
The Hens will continue their final month of regular season play with a rematch against Redlands University this Saturday at 7 p.m. at home.