CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team squared off with the Occidental Tigers for the second time in 10 days Monday night. The Stags claimed their 11th-straight victory with a 68-62 win to remain in first-place in the SCIAC. The Tigers made in tight late in the game, as CMS clung to as little as a three-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, but Scott Lynds (CMC) and Michael Scarlett (CMC) closed out the game by scoring the final nine points for CMS and the Stags took the six-point victory.
Lynds led the offensive effort for CMS in the game with 22 points on an 8-15 shooting effort while Scarlett and Miles President (HMC) finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The contest started as a defensive battle between the two sides. CMS and Occidental scored only 13 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. President knocked down a three with 9:28 left in the first-half to give CMS a 12-4 lead and after an Occidental free throw, Kendrick Morris (CMC) knocked down a pair of attempts from the stripe to give CMS their largest lead in the early going at 14-5.
A jumper from the Tigers' Zach Baines started a 14-3 Occidental run that gave the Tigers the lead at 18-17. The Stags took a quick timeout and then scored the next seven points to take the lead back at 24-18 with 2:55 remaining in the half.
The lead ballooned to as many as 10 points at 30-20 with 34 seconds remaining in the half following a pair of free throws from Jeremy Horn (CMC). Occidental made a jumper to close out the period and CMS took a 30-22 lead into the break.
After Occidental made a jumper to start the second-half, Scarlett and President made threes on back-to-back possessions to give CMS a 36-24 lead less than two minutes into the half.
CMS bumped their lead up to as many as 13 points on two different occasions and held a 50-37 advantage after a layup from Horn midway through the half.
Seven minutes later the Stags continued to lead by double-digits when Kendrick Morris finished off a dish from Jack Ely (CMC) to give CMS a 57-47 lead with 3:47 remaining in regulation. The assist from Ely was one of seven on the night for the senior. His seven assists were a new career high, topping his previous high of six against Cal Lutheran on Jan. 26, 2018.
After the Tigers and Stags traded buckets, CMS held a 59-49 lead with 3:18 remaining.
During a quick 1:30 scoring run, the Tigers scored seven points to cut the Stags' lead down to three points at 59-56. Scarlett broke the CMS scoreless streak with a layup for the final CMS field goal in the game. In the final minute, Lynds made a pair of free throws and Scarlett went 5-6 from the charity stripe to help the Stags hang on for the 68-62 victory.
With the win, the Stags improve to 13-1 in the SCIAC and take a two game lead in the conference standings over Occidental. CMS will next take the floor on Wednesday when they travel to Whittier to take on the Poets at 7:00 p.m.