Banana Slugs Slow Down Stags on Sunday

photo credit: Mitch Allan
photo credit: Mitch Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. – Playing in their second game in as many days, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team dropped a hard-fought, 84-76 overtime game against the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. Off the bench, Nicolas Segura (CMC) and Jeremy Horn (CMC) led the Stags with big nights on both ends of the floor. Segura finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double while Horn finished with a team-high 17 points.

The Banana Slugs took advantage of some sloppy play from the Stags and built a 19-6 advantage seven minutes into the contest. Sam Gabbard led the charge for Santa Cruz with eight points in the opening stretch. It was a sign of things to come for Gabbard, as the senior forward finished with a game-high 29 points.

Over the next 10-plus minutes, the Stags worked the Banana Slugs' lead down to just five points after a layup from Segura made it 30-25. A quick, 5-0 run for Santa Cruz followed and the lead was back into double-digits at 35-25. Segura tipped in a missed layup on the final CMS possession of the half and the Stags went to the break trailing 35-27.

As mentioned, the game was the second contest in as many days for the Stags. As a result, CMS relied heavily on players that were used sparingly last night. This allowed 14 different players to work their way onto the floor to gain valuable game experience.

Coming out of the half, the Stags looked like a different team. CMS quickly went to work and tied the game at 40-40 thanks to a 13-5 run in the first 4:40 of the half. Mark Sui (CMC) and Horn fueled the run with a combined nine points.

After a free throw from the Banana Slugs, Maxwell Kirsch (CMC) knocked down a three from the wing and Horn sandwiched a pair of jump shots around a Santa Cruz layup. After Horn's second layup in less than a minute, CMS led 47-43 with 12:53 remaining in the game.

Santa Cruz came back to take the lead at 55-51 with a pair of free throws from Gabbard, but Evan Davis (CMC) responded immediately with a three to pull the Stags within one with just over eight minutes to play.

For the rest of regulation the Banana Slugs would make a shot to create some distance on the scoreboard, but the Stags would respond moments later.

Following a Santa Cruz layup from Joshua Green with 1:35 remaining in regulation the Stags trailed 69-64. Davis again hit a three off a kick out from Kele Mkpado (CMC) to pull CMS within a bucket. After forcing a turnover, the Stags got the ball back with the shot clock turned off trailing by two. With four seconds on the clock, Mark Sui found a rolling Horn for the right handed layup to tie the game at 69-69 to force overtime.

In the extra period, the Stags struggled to get the offense going and were held scoreless for the first two minutes of overtime. Santa Cruz scored the first five points of overtime and eventually held a 79-71 lead with under a minute to play. Free throws by Davis, pulled CMS within five at 79-74, but the Banana Slugs knocked down their attempts from the charity stripe in the final minute to close out the game, 84-76.

The Stags fall to 2-6 with the non-conference loss. CMS will next take the floor on Saturday when they host Westmont in Roberts Pavilion. Game time slated for 7:00 p.m.