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February 2, 2012

Second Half Runs Lead Sagehens Past Caltech

Pasadena, Calif. – The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Basketball team used two 11-0 runs in the second half to shake off a sluggish start and capture a 55-48 win over Caltech on Wednesday evening.

With the win, the Sagehens improve to 11-7 overall and 6-2 in the SCIAC, as they remain tied for second with Whittier, within one game of first place Claremont-Mudd Scripps, which improved to 7-1 with a win over La Verne. Caltech falls to 5-14 overall and 0-8 in league play with the loss.

After trailing by 12, Pomona-Pitzer scored the final six points of the first half to get within 26-20, then scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 31-26 lead, extending its run to 17-0 spanning both halves. Freshman guard Kyle McAndrews (Seattle, Wash. - pictured) had six of the 11 points to start the second half (on his way to a team-high 14 on the night), while sophomore forward John Weiss (Cleveland, Ohio) added the other five.

Caltech took the punch, though, and tied the score at 31-31, then took a 34-33 lead on a three-pointer from Michael Edwards. Junior forward Po Grant (Brookline, Mass.) answered back with a quick three-pointer to put the Sagehens back in front, jump-starting another 11-0 run that stretched Pomona-Pitzer's lead up into double figures at 44-34. Freshman guard Michael Cohen (Tarzana, Calif) hit a key three-pointer in the run to put the Sagehens up six (40-34), then fed McAndrews for a lay-up to stretch it to eight. Sophomore forward Jake Klewer (Tucson, Ariz.) capped off the run with two foul shots.

After a Caltech free throw, Weiss hit a three-pointer with 7:56 left to give Pomona-Pitzer a 47-35 lead, and after another Beaver foul shot, a McAndrews lay-up with 7:11 to go gave the Sagehens their largest lead at 49-36.

The Beavers did not go quietly, as two three-pointers and a foul shot quickly closed the lead to 49-43. Cohen made one of two at the line, but Edwards answered with two foul shots to make it 50-45 with 4:41 left. The Beavers missed two chances to cut it even closer on a missed jumper and a turnover, before Klewer made a lay-up to stretch the lead back to seven with 2:40 to go.

Andrew Hogue hit a three-pointer for the Beavers with 1:20 to play to make the score 53-48, but Cohen was fouled at the end of the shot clock, made both, and the Sagehens were able to hang on.  

The Sagehens got off to a 6-1 lead on a lay-up from Weiss just 2:30 into the game, but then went into a long drought with only one field goal, as the Beavers outscored the Sagehens 19-4 over a span of nearly 15 minutes to take a 20-10 lead. Danny Brown (Eugene, Ore.) ended the run with a lay-up with 3:04 left, but the Beavers pulled ahead by as many as 12 points (at 26-14), before the Sagehens closed out the half on a 6-0 run. A dunk from Klewer capped off the half to get Pomona-Pitzer within six points and give it some momentum heading into the locker room, which carried over into the second half.

McAndrews led the Sagehens with 14 points, Weiss added 12, and Cohen chipped in with 10 off the bench. Edwards led all scorers for Caltech with 15 points, while Hogue added 13. Pomona-Pitzer shot just 36 percent from the floor, but shot 20-23 at the foul line (87 percent), compared to 9-19 for Caltech.

Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it entertains Redlands for a 7 p.m. contest.