CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team enters the 2018 SCIAC Tournament as the top seed and winners of their last 14 games. CMS claimed their 20th SCIAC Championship this season with a conference record of 15-1. The Stags will tip-off the SCIAC Semifinals on Friday night against the No. 4 Chapman Panthers. The Stags and Panthers will play in Roberts Pavilion on 7:00 p.m.
The winner of Friday's semifinal between CMS and Chapman will square off with the winner of No. 2 Occidental vs. No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday night. Should the Stags win on Friday, CMS will host on Saturday, thanks to their top-seed status.
See below for a quick preview of the SCIAC Tournament field:
No. 1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags - 17-7 Overall, 15-1 SCIAC
After taking some time to feel out the new look to this season's team, top-seeded CMS takes the floor having won 14 straight games since Jan. 3. CMS opened the season 3-7, but is undefeated in 2018. The Stags are led by Michael Scarlett (CMC) who averages 18.9 points per game. Scott Lynds (CMC) and Kendrick Morris (CMC) follow averaging 14.6 and 14.0 points per contest, while Morris leads the Stags with 8.0 rebounds per outing. Jack Ely adds 6.8 rebounds per game, and 2.9 assists per contest.
No. 4 Chapman Panthers - 17-8, 10-6
Fourth-seeded Chapman posted a 10-6 mark in league action during the 2017-18 campaign to secure the fourth seed in the SCIAC tournament. The Panthers take the court led by Rob Nelsen who averages 15.6 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per game. Reed Smith follows with an 11.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game average, while Reed Nakakihara has chipped in 9.9 points per outing. Luke Selway has been Chapman's top player on the glass, pulling down 7.0 boards per contest this season.
When they met:
The Stags and Panthers played a pair of close games during the regular season. CMS took home the victory in both of those games by less than 10 points. In mid-January, the Stags traveled to Orange and earned a 70-63 victor on the road, thanks to 21 points from Michael Scarlett and 20 from Scott Lynds. Then last Saturday, CMS defeated the Panthers 72-63 with Kendrick Morris scoring 20 points on a 10-13 shooting performance. In the second game, Chapman's Rob Nelson scored a career-high 28 points.
No. 2 Occidental Tigers - 19-6, 12-4
Occidental led the conference for the first-half of the season, but has struggled to a record of 3-4 in the month of February. The Tigers clinched the second seed and are led by Zach Baines and Austin DeWitz. Baines leads the Tigers with an 18.6 points per game average, while pullding down 7.2 boards per contest. DeWitz follows with 17.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, while Bryan Kaneshiro has dished out 4.0 assists per outing.
When they met:
As mentioned, Occidental was the team to beat for the first month of SCIAC play. The Tigers owned a perfect 9-0 record to start their conference schedule, but ran into a hot CMS team two times in just over a week. The Stags defeated Occidental both times they saw them in the beginning of February, 70-60 on Feb. 3 and 68-62 on Feb. 12. Different guys stepped up for CMS, but Scarlett and Miles President (HMC) went for double-digits in both games. Jack Ely (CMC) averaged 10.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game across the two contests.
No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens - 14-11, 12-4
Daniel Rosenbaum leads third-seeded Pomona-Pitzer averaging 16.0 points per game, while Micah Elan and Adam Rees average 15.7 and 10.0 points per game respectively. The trio also leads the Sagehens on the glass as Rosenbaum averages 7.1 rebounds per game, followed by Elan and Rees with 4.6 and 4.5 boards per outing.
When they met:
The Stags won both meetings in the Sixth Street rivalry during the 2017-18 regular season. CMS went across the street for an early season meeting on Dec. 9 and held off a late Sagehen comeback to earn a 72-67 victory. Then two months later, CMS claimed another triumph on Feb.7 by a 73-60 final. Between the two meetings, Scarlett averaged 27.0 points per game and popped off for a game-high 32 points in the second meeting.
Please note: Portions of this article have been borrowed from the SCIAC Preview Article.