Stags record first 5-0 start in five years

Photo by Mitchell Allan
Photo by Mitchell Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. – For the first time in five years, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team is off to a 5-0 start to the season following a spectacular 90-62 victory over San Diego Christian (3-5). The Stags outplayed the Hawks by using their size, out-rebounding their opponents 36-18.  Junior Michael Scarlett (CMC) scored a team-high 19 points, making 16 of them in the second half, while senior Scott Lynds (CMC) had 15 points, four assists, and two steals. Junior Kendrick Morris (CMC) was a defensive stalwart, recording three blocks and pulling down six rebounds to keep the Hawks away from the paint. Derek Novsek led San Diego Christian with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting and Caleb Singleton went 5-for-10 from the perimeter to score 17 points.

The Stags' offense did not miss a beat from last Saturday, as the team moved to ball inside and out and converted open shots. Following a nifty hook by sophomore Patrick Myers (CMC) to give CMS a 21-12 lead, Scarlett and freshman JD Levine (CMC) hit back-to-back three-pointers to go up 27-12. However, with less than five minutes left in the opening half, the Hawks climb their way back to cut the lead within single digits. Singleton knocked down a triple to cut CMS' lead 32-23, but senior Riley Hall (CMC) kept the Hawks at bay with a strong post move to convert a layup and draw the and-one. Hall made his free throw to increase the lead 35-23. San Diego Christian closed the half with a 9-3 run afterwards to cut the Stags' lead to six.

San Diego Christian almost had the Stags by their heels after Novsek opened up the second half with a three-pointer to cut the deficit within three. The Stags weren't intimidated, and managed to fire all cylinders to put the game away. After being held to only three points in the opening half, Scarlett stepped up and carried the offense, scoring 16 points during a 22-2 run, including 3 three-pointers, to give CMS a 58-37 lead.

With less than 11 minutes remaining in the game and trailing 63-40, the Hawks went on an 8-3 run to build some momentum and stay in the game. However, Lynds answered back with an impressive sequence of his own. With 7:49 left in the game and the shot clock winding down to four seconds, Lynds froze his defender with a crossover and pulled up from beyond the arc for the triple. A minute later the senior went full speed across the court and hit a pull-up jumper in the paint to give CMS the 71-48 lead, and put the game away for good. With a 1:30 left, sophomore Ryan Kusch (HMC) brought the fireworks to Roberts Pavilion, stealing the ball off a bad pass, and going coast-to-coast for an emphatic slam dunk to make it 87-57.

The Stags will look to maintain their winning streak as they open up conference play against Whittier College (1-2) on the road next Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 pm. The Poets won both games against CMS last season, winning 82-70 in their most recent meeting. However, the two teams saw a combined total of 12 seniors graduate from their respective programs at the end of last season, and will face off with a fairly new lineup.

Box Score

Editor's Note: When first published, the recap mistakenly mentioned that the Stags were off to their first 5-0 start in 10 years. It was corrected to five years. The 2011-12 CMS Men's basketball team went on a 15-0 start, going to win the SCIAC Tournament and played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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