#12 Tigers Edge Pomona-Pitzer
In a hard-fought defensive battle before a boisterous home crowd, Occidental edged traditional rival and two-time defending conference champion Pomona-Pitzer 53-52 Saturday night at Rush Gym.
Occidental improved to 15-1 overall, 6-0 in SCIAC play, and moved from 16th to 12th in the nation in the latest D3Hoops.com top 25 rankings released Monday.
Sophomore guard Connor Whitman stepped up in a big way, scoring 25 points including six three-pointers, with three assists and three steals to lead the Tigers. Junior forward Sam Betty, Oxy's leading scorer, added 17 points and pulled in eight rebounds.
The final stats for the game show how evenly matched the Tigers and Sagehens were: Oxy shot 20-52 (Pomona 21-51), making seven of 20 three-point attempts (Pomona was 4-16), and was 6-15 at the free throw line (Pomona was 6-13). Oxy had 26 rebounds to Pomona's 29, 11 assists to Pomona's 10, and 10 turnovers to Pomona's 13. The only area where Oxy enjoyed a clear lead was in steals, with nine to Pomona's four.
Ed Wexler-Beron led the Sagehens with 18 points on eight-of-12 shooting from the floor, with four rebounds.
Pomona-Pitzer (10-7, 4-2) falls to third place in conference standings behind Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (11-6, 5-1), which downed La Verne 70-58 on Saturday. Next up for the Tigers is Caltech in a 7:30 p.m. away game on Wednesday, Feb. 1.