Staunch defending locks up SCIAC title for Stags

Staunch defending locks up SCIAC title for Stags

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team (19-4, 12-3) claimed the SCIAC title and home court advantage for the SCIAC semifinal after winning 62-50 over Chapman University (13-11, 5-10) on Saturday. Prior to the game, Roberts Pavilion commemorated the team's only graduating senior, Riley Hall (CMC) for his contributions to the program on and off the court. The senior forward solidified his spot on the rotation because of his gritty defending, physicality, and tireless work ethic, but it appeared that the rest of the team emulated his example that night. The Stags held the Panthers to a 34.0 field goal percentage and forced them into 14 turnovers.

Junior Jack Ely (CMC) had an outstanding performance, posting career-highs in steals (5) and rebounds (10) to go with his eight points. Hall had 12 points, two steals, and a block, while junior Michael Scarlett (CMC) scored 24 points, going 50.0 percent from the field. The junior guard also had six rebounds and assists. Josh Cohen had nine points and nine rebounds for the Panthers while Rob Nelson led Chapman with 13 points.

The Stags looked focused from the start of the game, sticking with their game plan of attacking inside out. After opening the scoring with a jumper, Scarlett kept the run going by feeding junior Kendrick Morris (CMC) in the post. After making the easy layup, the big man scored again off the put-back after grabbing an offensive board. Sophomore Patrick Myers (CMC) stepped in for Morris and followed suit, attacking the post in two straight possessions to give CMS the 13-1 lead.

The Panthers quietly got back in the game, thanks to some big shots from Luke Selway and Cohen to tie it at 16 apiece. However, freshman Miles President (HMC) quickly diffused Chapman's momentum with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, sparking a 15-2 run. After Scarlett hit a step-back triple, Ely managed to steal the ball and score a fast break layup to cap the run, putting CMS ahead 31-18 with three minutes left in the half.

The second half was no different as CMS maintained its crisp ball movement and gritty defending to keep the Panthers at bay. Scarlett continued his torrid scoring and the Panthers tried to double-team him, opening up space for the other Stags. Chapman managed to come within eight points with less than three minutes left in the game after Rob Nelsen hit two free throws and resorted to the full court press to regain possession. Ely was pressured off the inbound pass, but saw an open Hall cutting to the basket. Hall received the long pass as he was in the paint and launched himself off two feet for a rim-rattling dunk. A layup by Scarlett with a minute and half to play sealed the victory for the Stags.

CMS will hit the road to face Occidental College in the final game of the regular season on Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. before returning home to host the SCIAC Tournament.   

Box Score

By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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