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.
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.