CMS remained undefeated on the season as Remy Pinson hit a spinning layup with one second remaining to give the Stags a 57-55 win in front of a overflow crowd of 2470 at Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday night. CMS improved to 15-0 overall and are now alone in first in SCIAC play at 4-0. Pomona-Pitzer dropped to 8-6 and 3-1.
Both teams were tight early, as if often the case in rivalry games, and combined for five missed shots, three turnovers and two fouls before the first point was scored after almost three minutes of play. CMS took a 4-1 lead, but Pomona-Pitzer went on a 14-2 run to take a nine point lead. The Stags were down 19-9 at the 6:29 mark before they finally settled down and went on a 11-0 run to retake the lead. The team traded leads before Kyle McAndrews scored to give the Sagehens a 23-22 lead heading into halftime. Pomona-Pitzer shot 4-9 on both twos and threes in the first half while CMS shot 37.5% from the field and just 1-5 on threes. CMS stayed close by taking six more shots due to their 5-1 advantage on the offensive boards.
The teams traded leads several times in the first 10 minutes of the second half and CMS held a 47-44 lead with nine minutes remaining before a dry spell hit both squads. Neither team scored for three and half minutes. The Sagehens scored on back-to-back possessions to retake the lead, but then did not score for almost four minutes. The Stags dry spell lasted almost seven minutes before Joseph Anderson hit a shot to give CMS back the lead. The teams traded baskets and then Tyler Gaffaney hit a three to give CMS a 54-50 lead with 28 seconds remaining. Jack Klukas cut the deficit to two and the Sagehens fouled Chris Blees on the inbounds pass. Blees hit one out of two and Pomona-Pitzer called timeout to set up a play. Klukas caught an inbounds pass from the opposite sideline in front of his team's bench and tied the game with a three with six seconds to play. Pinson kept the game from going into overtime by taking the inbounds pass and going the length of the court to hit the game winner.
The Stags shot much better in the second half including 14-24 (58%) from the field and 5-8 (62%) on threes. The Sagehens matched their first half shooting of 4-9 on threes in the second half and were 11-24 (46%) overall and stayed in the game by outscoring the Stags 6-2 from the free throw line.
The Pomona-Pitzer game plan was to neutralize Blees by double and triple teaming him and it was somewhat successful as he was held to 11 points and four rebounds, well below his team leading 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and was forced into seven turnovers. Blees did equal the team high with four assists including assists on three of the team's last four baskets. With the attention being shown to Blees, the rest of the starters needed to have strong games and they all did. Seniors Mani Maceira and Anderson each had nine points and five rebounds. The starting sophomore backcourt of Gaffaney and Pinson had 11 and 10 points respectively and combined to shoot 8-11 from the field and 5-8 on threes. Klukas led the Sagehens with 13 points and Michael Cohen added 12 coming off the bench.
CMS' 15-game winning streak is the longest in team history. The Stags, ranked #12 in the latest D3hoops.com national poll are one of four teams in Division III that remain undefeated (#1 Middlebury, #3 MIT and #6 Mary Hardin-Baylor are the others).
CMS returns to action on Saturday, January 21. They will travel to Whittier to take on the Poets (11-4, 3-1 SCIAC) at 7:00.