CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Stags came away with a tight, 72-67 victory in the Sixth Street rivalry on Saturday night. The Stags opened up a 12-point, 40-28 lead at the half before Pomona-Pitzer battled back early in the second-half to tie the game. The Sagehens ended up taking a 55-50 lead midway through the second-half, but the Stags fought their way back late to claim the five-point victory.
The Stags clamped down defensively over the final minutes to claim the victory. CMS ended the game on an 8-1 run over the final three minutes to earn their fist SCIAC win of the season.
In the victory, the Stags showed their ability to play different styles of basketball on the offensive end. In the first-half it was Michael Scarlett (CMC) commanding the show. The senior guard lit it up from the outside. His deadly jump shot helped the senior score 16 points in the opening half with a 6-7 effort from the field and a 3-3 mark from downtown.
The Sagehens keyed-in on Scarlett in the second-half and held the guard to just six points. This opened the door for Kendrick Morris (CMC) to take the lead. Morris dropped 14 points in the half, adding an exclamation mark to the effort with a two-handed slam in the game's final minute.
Morris' hammer helped put the game away and led the Stags to the thrilling 72-67 victory.
Just as they did on Wednesday night, CMS opened the game with a strong first-half. As a team, the Stags shot 14-27 from the field (51.9%) and a blistering 7-10 from downtown (70.0%) to open up a 40-28 lead at the break.
The majority of the lead was built in a 55-second span in the middle of the first-half. While the Stags did end the first-half on a 24-13 run in the final 10:17 of the opening half. Scott Lynds (CMC) and Michael Scarlett sparked the strong final 10 minutes with three triples in less than a minute.
Lynds started the party off with a pair of threes on back-to-back possessions. Lynds knocked down his first trio and then grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end before walking into his second three in a 25 second span.
After a Pomona-Pitzer timeout, the Sagehens missed a three and Scarlett doubled down on the miss by netting a triple of his own on the ensuing CMS possession. When the dust settled from the downtown barrage, the Stags held a 25-15 lead with 9:22 remaining in the half.
CMS' lead then hovered between eight and 13 points for the remained of the half and the Stags took a 40-28 lead into the half with all the momentum in the game.
Things changed quickly after the break. Kendrick Morris made a layup on the first possession of the half, but the Sagehens then took over with a 16-2 run than spanned the next five minutes to tie the game at 44-44.
A Scott Lynds jumper ended the run and moments later, a layup from Scarlett put CMS up 48-44. The Stags would hold the lead for the next three minutes, but an and-one layup from the Sagehens' Winston Nelson gave the lead to Pomona-Pitzer for the first time in nearly 25 minutes.
It took CMS four and a half minutes to get back in the driver's seat, but the Stags took the lead back with an and-one layup of their own from Miles President (HMC) with 6:07 remaining in the game. President's three-point play gave the Stags a 60-59 lead.
That lead was erased when Pomona-Pitzer's Adam Rees nailed a three with 4:05 remaining. The three gave the Sagehens the advantage at 64-62 and started a seesaw battle for the lead over the next two minutes. A jumper from Scarlett gave CMS the lead back at 68-66 and Kendrick Morris followed with a two-handed slam a minute later to double the Stags' lead.
Things got dicey for the Stags in the final ten seconds. After CMS missed layup, the Sagehens had the ball down by three. A hustle play from Scott Lynds poked the ball out from behind and a pair of free throws from Scarlett sealed the five-point victory for the Stags.
The win improves the Stags to 1-1 in the SCIAC and 2-5 overall. CMS will next take the court on Sunday when they host UC Santa Cruz at 4:00 p.m. in Roberts Pavilion.