Men’s Basketball Rolls Through Opening Weeks

After coming out with three victories in their first four games, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball team scraped together a 60-54 victory over the Chapman University Panthers in its first SCIAC game of the season at Voelkel Gymnasium Wednesday night.

Kyle McAndrews PO ’15 scored 14 points and dished out five assists for the Sagehens, while Harrison Green PO ’13 knocked down three three-pointers on his way to a season high of 11 points. Like Green, Donald Okpalugo PO ’13 energized P-P off the bench as he notched nine points off five shot attempts and recorded six rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes.

P-P’s defense, however, was the key to the Sagehens’ victory as a disrupted Chapman managed a mere 13 points and shot 25 percent from the field in the first half. P-P similarly struggled offensively—the two teams shot a collective 1/15 on three-pointers—but entered intermission with a 10-point lead. Xavyr Moss PZ ’13 kept P-P afloat as he scored a third of the Sagehens’ first-half buckets before McAndrews and Green carried the offensive load during the second period.

Chapman’s shooting improved significantly after the break, with the Panthers making 17 of their 31 attempts. On multiple occasions throughout the second, the Sagehens looked poised to pull away from the Panthers, but Chapman responded with a timely three to keep within reach of its hosts.

Chapman scored the first basket of the game; the Sagehens responded with an 11-point run and never relinquished their lead, even when the Panthers brought the game within four points with 1:17 left to play. A missed three-pointer by Michael Cohen PO ’15 on the ensuing possession could not ice the game, but his steal at half-court and subsequent layup put the game out of reach. In the last twenty seconds, Chapman twice fired up threes, collected the offensive rebounds and hoisted up another long-distance attempt. None of them went down, and P-P celebrated its first SCIAC victory of the year.

Going into the encounter with Chapman, McAndrews led the team with 17.8 points per game. On Nov. 16, McAndrews propelled the Sagehens to their first victory of the season when he drained a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to tie the game with Westmont College and then, following a Cohen steal, found Jake Klewer PO ’14, whose layup rattled in as the buzzer sounded.

Against La Sierra University the next day, an NAIA squad, P-P held the Golden Eagles scoreless for the game’s first eight minutes, jumping out to an early 17-point advantage. The Sagehens never looked back as they maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. McAndrews dropped 19 points in the 87-64 victory.

The Sagehens’ first loss of the season came against The Master’s College, also an NAIA school. The Mustangs beat up P-P over the Thanksgiving break as they cruised to a decisive 77-58 win. The Sagehens, however, returned to form the following evening and beat an over-matched University of California, Santa Cruz 77-45.

Klewer registered his first double-double of the year as he scored 13 points and hauled down an equal number of rebounds. Klewer currently leads the team with eight rebounds per game and an average of 8.4 points per game, thanks to a fantastic .739 shooting percentage. Joe Eyen PZ ’15 scored nine points, all coming off three-pointer attempts, while McAndrews went 11 for 13 from the free-throw line on his way to 19 points.

Behind McAndrews, Cohen and Moss are the Sagehens’ leading scorers, averaging 11.2 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Cohen also leads the team in steals with 11 per contest.

The Sagehens return to action on Saturday when they travel to the University of Redlands to play a squad they defeated twice last season.

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