REDLANDS, Calif. – An offensive surge in the second half was enough to help the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team (9-1, 2-0) cruise past University of Redlands (4-7, 0-2) on the road, as the Stags won their second game in conference play 75-59. After a gritty first half, the Stags started moving the ball and creating open shots to take the lead in the second half. The Bulldogs managed to come close with 10 minutes left in the game, but big plays from juniors Jack Ely (CMC) and Michael Scarlett (CMC) helped the Stags pull the game out of reach.
"We had a little bit of a slow start," said Head Coach Ken Scalmanini after the game. "But we came out in the second half and grinded it out. I'm glad we won a tough game in conference on the road."
Scarlett finished the game with 23 points, going 7-for-15 from the field, while senior Scott Lynds (CMC) contributed 20 points. Senior Riley Hall (CMC) was a stalwart on the defensive end, leading the team with nine rebounds and three steals, and Ely brought some spark off the bench with nine points, five rebounds, and two steals.
"I told the team that Ely's physicality helped us. He got on the boards, competed, and grinded hard," praised Coach Scalmanini. "He is a hard-nosed competitor and brings toughness off the bench. He does what it takes to help the team win."
CMS struggled to find its offense at the opening tip, unable to go on a significant run to gain a marginal lead. While the Stags limited the Bulldogs' offense to shoot only 29 percent from the field, they struggled to capitalize and shot 10-for-25 in the first half. The Stags also got outrebounded 19 to 15, giving the Bulldogs six offensive boards and plenty of second chance opportunities. CMS barely led 27-23 at halftime.
The Stags looked more comfortable on offense in the second half, working hard to move the ball and create easy scoring opportunities. Junior Kendrick Morris (CMC) got the team started, converting a layup to spark a 16-6 run at the start of the second half. Timely shots by Lynds and Scarlett kept the run going, and the momentum remained with the Stags when the reserves stepped onto the court. After Ely and Lynds scored back-to-back jumpers, freshman Jeremy Horn (CMC) made a huge play to cap the run. Following a missed three-pointer from Ely, Horn leapt for the offensive board and came back up for a jumper. The freshman was fouled while scoring the basket and converted the and-one, giving CMS the 41-29 lead.
The Bulldogs responded with a furious comeback, attacking the paint relentlessly and scoring six layups during an 18-5 run to take a 47-46 lead. However, their lead was short-lived as Coach Scalmanini called a timeout with 7:15 left in the game to help the team refocus.
"We dug our feet in the defensive end and moved the ball more on offense," explained Coach Scalmanini. "By doing this we were able to hit open shots, giving us time to regroup on defense and prevent them (Redlands) from getting to us in transition."
The Bulldogs' defense also left Scarlett open on multiple occasions and the junior sharpshooter made them pay. With 5:25 left in the game, Lynds grabbed the rebound off Ely's miss and found Scarlett open from the three-point line for the assist. A couple plays later, Ely forced a turnover off Redlands' big man Blake O'Brien and hit an open Scarlett from beyond the arc for another three-pointer. After Redlands missed a three-point opportunity, Scarlett showed the Bulldogs how it's done with his fourth three-pointer in the half thanks to another assist from Ely. Ely got fouled while making a layup and made the extra basket with 2:20 left in the game to end the 18-3 run and give CMS the 64-50 lead.
The Stags will return home to host Caltech (3-8, 2-0) on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. CMS won both meetings against the Beavers last season, but Caltech has proven to not be a pushover this season. The Beavers are battle-tested after facing several strong teams in their non-conference schedule and are coming off a three-game winning streak. CMS will look to remain undefeated in conference play.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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