Stags Score Emphatic Victory in SCIAC Tourney, Punch Ticket To NCAAs

Stags claimed their sixth SCIAC Tournament Title on Saturday Night (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)
Stags claimed their sixth SCIAC Tournament Title on Saturday Night (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with an emphatic 86-62 victory over the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in the SCIAC Tournament Final. Scott Lynds (CMC) and Michael Scarlett led the way for the Stags with 51 combined points on the night. The duo went 9-18 from downtown as the Stags shot 46.2% (12-26) from beyond the arc in the game.

Lynds was named the Tournament's MVP after a 29-point performance. He also collected two rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the big victory.

The Stags led by as many as 30 points early in the second-half before cruising to their sixth SCIAC Tournament Title in team history.

The win is CMS' 16th-straight victory and the Stags improve to 19-7 on the season.

The Stags started the game with an impressive performance from beyond the arc. In the first-half, CMS went 9-14 from downtown to build a 49-29 lead at the break. With 13:39 remaining in the first-half, the Stags held a slim 16-15 lead before back-to-back threes from Scarlett quickly pushed the advantage to seven points at 22-15. Scarlett's threes sparked a 17-4 CMS run that put the Stags in the driver's seat 33-19.

Pomona-Pitzer scored the next five points, before CMS put the pedal to the metal again. In the final 6:07 of the opening half, the Stags outscored the Sagehens 16-5 to open up a 20-point halftime lead. The late burst was fueled by seven points from Scarlett, four from Kendrick Morris (CMC), three from Lynds, and two from Maxwell Kirsch (CMC).

While Scarlett and Lynds did the majority of the heavy lifting in the first-half, Maxwell Kirsch put together a strong effort in 12 minutes off the bench. The sophomore scored four points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out three assists in the opening period.

After holding a 49-29 advantage at the break, the Stags scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second-half to continue their scoring run. When it was all said and done, it was a 28-7 run that lasted 9:41 across the two halves that built CMS their largest lead of the game at 61-31 with 16:26 remaining in the game.

The lead hovered around 30 points for the next five minutes and while the Sagehens trimmed the margin down to 20 points in the final 10 minutes, the game was not competitive down the stretch.
The Stags ran away with the 86-63 victory to claim second-straight SCIAC Tournament Title and third in the last four years.

With the victory, CMS earns the Automatic Qualifier from the SCIAC and moves on to the NCAA Tournament. They will find out where they are going on Monday morning during the NCAA Selection show at 9:30 a.m. Watch the show live here.