CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team improved its SCIAC record to .500 for the first time this year thanks to a last minute 51-49 win over its Sixth Street rival, Pomona-Pitzer.
The first seven minutes of a sloppy first half saw a combined 15 missed shots and six turnovers, but CMS managed a 7-2 lead at the 12:27 mark.
Pomona came back to tie things up at seven on a Corbin Koch three pointer two minutes later, setting the tone for what would be a back and forth, tightly contested game.
With 2:07 left on the clock the Sagehens took the lead on a three pointer by freshman Chris Wright, but senior guard Jack Earley (CMC) quickly responded with a three of his own to even up the score.
Freshman guard Evan Davis (CMC) put CMS ahead 22-19 with 35 seconds left in the half and senior center Nick Lund (CMC) came up with two blocks in the final ten seconds to preserve a three-point advantage for the Stags at halftime.
Less than two minutes into the second half Pomona-Pitzer took advantage of a pair of Stags' misses to once again create a deadlock at 22.
The seesaw action continued as the Sagehens jumped out to what would be their largest lead of the game at 32-28 following another successful Koch three pointer and free throw, only to be answered by a pair of centers for the Stags in Shelby Lane (CMC) and Lund who each converted on layups to even the score midway through the half.
Each team took turns jumping out to small leads as possessions grew even more important as the game wound down.
With CMS trailing by three and just over two minutes on the clock, senior forward Jason Harrington (CMC) came through a three-pointer and the game was once again in familiar territory, tied.
On the ensuing Sagehen possession, Koch attempted to give Pomona a three-point advantage but Earley came up clutch with the rebound and turned it into his tenth points of the game on a layup 30 seconds later as CMS now led 48-46.
The Stags forced Pomona into another missed shot collected by junior forward Riley Hall (CMC) and did a nice job chewing clock until sophomore guard Michael Scarlett (CMC) sank the game winning basket for CMS on a jumper near the free-throw line with 21 seconds left.
The teams traded free throws on fouls in the final seconds but CMS earned a clutch 51-49 victory to keep their winning streak intact and bolster their hopes of finishing the season with a SCAC Postseason Tournament berth.
Lund had a solid 12 point night with four rebounds and two blocks to lead all Stags. Early posted 11 points and seven rebounds.
Forward Gibson Farone-Collins led all Sagehen shooters for the night with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
The fifth place Stags (12-10, 7-7) have two games left to work their way into the SCIAC Postseason Tournament, each against teams currently in a playoff position. CMS will play at Redlands Feb. 20 before wrapping up the regular season at Chapman on Feb. 23.
By Tony Steege
Sports Information Assistant
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