Whittier College’s Men’s Basketball had just come off the road with two wins when their victory streak came to a sudden end after their game against the highly ranked Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. The Poets faced a woeful defeat losing to the Sagehens with a score of 83-63.
“I thought we were ready, I thought we were ready; We’ve had a couple good days of practices,” said Whittier College Men’s Head Coach Rock Carter. Trying to catch up and cut down Pomona’s lead was still not enough for the Poets to come out with a win, as they left Graham Athletic Center losing by 20 in front of a packed audience.
With another packed house that brings the best out of the team, both the crowd and the players couldn’t wait for tip-off to get underway. “We have the best crowd in SCIAC,” said Coach Carter. Momentum was in Whittier’s favor early in the first half. The Poets displayed excellent pressure defense and shooting efficiency from behind the arc. First-year forward Nick Potthoff, sophomore forward Connor Longmire, and junior guard Louis Kurihara were the highlights of the first half as they combined for a total of 15 points.
It took the combined effort of Potthoff, Longmire, and Kurihara to put up double digits but it only took sophomore guard Daniel Rosenbaum from Pomona-Pitzer to do the same. Throughout the game, the Poets’ defense had no answer for Rosenbaum who put up 14 points in the first half alone, going 6-8 in field goal range and 2-3 from the three-point line. Poets tried to answer back with a few shots from the three-point line but ended up going into a cold spell at the end of the first half.
“It’s a game of streaks,” Coach Carter said. It seemed no matter how hard the Poets fought to cut down their deficit, they were unable to go into the hot streak that their offense is known for. With less than five minutes left in the second half, the Poets were able to cut the Sagehens’ lead down to ten points. A glimpse of a possible comeback was within grasp if the Poet defense could prevent Pomona from scoring and find their own way to the net. However, the Poets were beaten on rebounds 55-40 - with their offense unable to buy a basket - missing both easy shots and layups throughout the second half.
“We got late in the first half, and couldn’t get our feet back underneath us. We just didn’t execute well; got outplayed in every aspect of the game,” Coach Carter said after the tough defeat.
The team came out of Thursday’s game with an 8-8 record overall and a 3-5 record in the SCIAC Conference. The Poets will continue their pursuit of playoffs in their next SCIAC matchup against the Kingsmen of California Lutheran University on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.