LA VERNE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team went on the road and cruised to a 72-53 victory over the La Verne Leopards on Wednesday night. For the third consecutive game, senior center Kendrick Morris (CMC) posted a double-double, leading the Stags with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
The Leopards struck first with a three right out of the gate, but Miles President (HMC) quickly answered back with one of his own to kick start the Stags' offense. Both teams held the other scoreless for two minutes until a layup from Jack Ely (CMC) gave CMS their first lead of the game. Buckets from Morris and Michael Scarlett (CMC) pushed the Stags to a four-point advantage at 9-5.
The Leopards kept pace with the Stags and pulled within one before a layup from Tevin McClain gave La Verne a 12-11 lead at the 12:32 mark. Jumpers from Scott Lynds (CMC) and Morris gave the Stags back a lead they would not relinquish. Back-to-backs three-point buckets from Ely and Lynds extended the lead to 21-14 with 9:28 to go in the half and the Stags never looked back.
Scarlett added to the advantage with five-straight points, including a triple off an assist from Ely. An assist from President took Scarlett to the bucket for two more and a free throw brought the lead to 33-19. La Verne attempted to chip away with a couple jumpers but Maxwell Kirsch (CMC) swung the momentum back to CMS with a three-point-play, sinking a layup and a free throw with 25 seconds left in the half.
The Stags found themselves at the free throw line often in the second-half. CMS attempted a total of 18 free throws in the final 20 minutes against just five attempts from the Leopards. Morris got the party started by finishing an and-one layup from the stripe. Ely followed with three makes and a layup from Patrick Myers (CMC) pushed the Stags to the 50-point mark.
A free throw from Lynds with 6:23 remaining in the game pushed the CMS lead to 63-42, their largest lead of the contest.
The Stags continued to lead comfortably. After Morris knocked down a pair of free throws, CMS held a 20-point advantage at 69-49 with 2:20 remaining. The and-one layup trend continued with Jeremy Horn (CMC) as he capped off the Stags' scoring with 1:31 left in the game. CMS claimed the 72-53 win and improved their winning streak to eight games.
CMS shot 70.0% from the charity stripe, making 14 of 20. Morris was a perfect 4-4 from the line while Ely and Scarlett chipped in three apiece. Morris made nine field goals en route to his team-leading 22 points, tying his season high. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and posted his sixth double-double of the season. Ely posted his second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 10 points. Scarlett chipped in 15 points and Lynds dropped 12.
After winning every game in the month of January, the Stags head into February on an eight-game winning streak and a conference record of 9-1.
The Stags return home on Saturday for a battle with the SCIAC leading Occidental College Tigers. CMS and Occidental will square-off twice in the next 10 days with the top-spot in the conference on the line. Game time on Saturday is slated for 5:00 p.m.