CLAREMONT, Calif. – All five starters scored at least 14 points in an 86-76 victory for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team over the Whittier Poets on Wednesday night. The Stags and Poets were tied 69-69 with five minutes to play, but a strong final push from CMS lifted the Stags to their fourth-straight SCIAC victory.
The win improves the Stags to 5-1 in the conference and moves them back to .500 overall with a 7-7 record.
The Stags lit the world on fire in the first-half of Wednesday's game, shooting 62.1% from the field during the period. CMS made 18 buckets in the opening period, but held just a one-point, 43-42, lead at the break after the Poets took nine more shots than the Stags (48 vs. 39) in the half.
Neither team took more than a five-point lead for the first 12 minutes of the game, but a layup from Kendrick Morris (CMC) with 7:19 remaining in the half gave the Stags a six-point advantage at 32-26. The CMS cushion went up to eight when Michael Scarlett (CMC) finished a layup just moments later.
The Poets chipped away at the Stags' lead and a transition dunk from Eric Davis in the final seconds before the half pulled Whittier within one at 43-42.
In the second-half the Stags seemed to pull away slightly on multiple occasions, but the Poets responded every time. As a result, the game remained tight throughout the period. With 13:34 remaining, CMS built a lead of seven points at 56-49 following a jump shot from Miles President (HMC). Just two minutes later the Poets had scored six-straight points and pulled within one at 56-55.
Once again, the Stags opened up some breathing room with a tip-in from Scarlett and a three-point play from Scott Lynds (CMC) to make it 61-55. The Poets responded with a 9-2 run to take their first lead of the second-half at 64-63 with 8:39 remaining in the game.
Now it was the Stags turn to answer. Scarlett connected on a pair of free throws while Morris stole a pass at the top of the key and coasted in for the two-handed slam to give CMS the lead back at 67-64.
The lead changed hands two more times in the next 75 seconds and with five minutes remaining the score was even at 69-69.
A jumper from Jack Ely (CMC) broke the tie and gave the Stags a 71-69 lead. The bucket from Ely was followed by a transition three from Miles President and CMS quickly led by five with under four minutes to play. The next two minutes featured six free throws from the Stags and CMS opened up a comfortable 80-71 lead.
A three from Whittier closed the gap to as few as six points in the final two minutes, but layups from Morris and Scarlett ended the hopes of comeback for Whittier. Lynds capped off the victory with a pair of free throws and CMS took the 86-76 victory.
As mentioned, all five starters scored at least 14 points in the game. Jack Ely and Scott Lynds led the team with 18 points each. Michael Scarlett was close behind with 17 points. Miles President and Kendrick Morris scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.
With the win the Stags move back to .500 overall (7-7 record) and improve to 5-1 in the SCIAC. The Stags will next take the floor on Saturday when they host the Caltech Beavers at 5:00 p.m. in Roberts Pavilion.