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Pomona-Pitzer continues dream season with first-round playoff victory over UT Dallas

Pomona-Pitzer continues dream season with first-round playoff victory over UT Dallas
Pomona-Pitzer's Corbin Koch drives against University of Texas Dallas' Dimitrius Underwood and Keldon Pruitt, right, during the first round of the NCAA Division III college basketball tournmanent in Walla Walla, Wash. on Friday. (Greg Lehman / Associated Press)

There wasn’t anything surprising about the way Pomona-Pitzer opened play in the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament.

Defense powered the Sagehens through the regular season. Defense made all the difference again on Friday night.

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In a 58-37 victory that was never really in doubt after the opening minutes, they limited the University of Texas at Dallas to 26% shooting and won the battle of rebounds by 50 to 30.

The win now advances them to a second-round game at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Pomona-Pitzer had already set a school record for victories in a season and came into the Division III first round at Walla Walla, Wash., ranked 11th in the nation.

Relying on a familiar approach against UT Dallas — hustling defense, lots of passing, an occasional fastbreak — the Sagehens improved their record to 26-2, opening a 13-point lead midway through the first half and holding onto a comfortable margin the rest of the way.

Senior guard Daniel Rosenbaum punctuated the win with a three-pointer in the closing minutes.

Rosenbaum and his veteran backcourt mates — Corbin Koch and Micah Elan — combined for 35 points. James Kelbert provided a spark off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.

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