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Sagehens Claim SCIAC Championship, Headed to NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament

On Saturday night, Jabarri Reynolds ’08 and David Brown ’08 led their teammates to a rousing overtime victory of 55-53 against CMS, paving the way for participation in the NCAA Division III tournament. Brown, a guard, led Pomona-Pitzer with 17 points, including five three-pointers, while wing Reynolds scored 12 points and secured the victory with a free throw in overtime.

According to head men’s basketball coach and athletic director Charlie “Coach Kat” Katsiaficas, until last year, the team with the best Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) regular season record received the automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. But last year, SCIAC determined that the top four teams would qualify for a post-season tournament to decide who would receive the automatic qualifying bid.

Pomona-Pitzer, which finished third this year, defeated second-place Cal Lutheran last Friday. CMS, which finished fourth, beat top team Occidental also on Friday. This led to Saturday’s showdown in front of a capacity crowd at Voelkel Gymnasium.

“The guys competed extremely hard,” says Coach Katsiaficas. “It was a great atmosphere, the crowd was alive, and it was a really fun game to be in.”

This is the team’s 13th appearance at nationals, and the ninth appearance in the past 15 years, according to sports information director Ben Belletto. Coach Katsiaficas has led the team 12 times to nationals.

Pomona-Pitzer will play the first NCAA tournament game this coming Thursday at Occidental, which received a wildcard into the tournament. Six games must be won to receive the entire Division III championship.

Update 3/7/08: Pomona-Pitzer lost to Occidental on March 6 by just one point, and are out of the NCAA tournament.