CMS Men's Basketball Falls in Closing Seconds to Pacific Lutheran

CMS Men's Basketball Falls in Closing Seconds to Pacific Lutheran

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Kelton Williams broke a 57-57 tie with an 18-foot jumper with 3.3 seconds left to give the Pacific Lutheran men's basketball team a 61-57 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in a New Year's Eve contest on Monday afternoon at Roberts Pavilion.

CMS, which was coming off a 16-day layoff, sees its three-game win streak snapped as it falls to 6-4 on the year. Pacific Lutheran, which fell to Chapman and Caltech in the first two games of its three-game California trip, improves to 4-6 with the win. 

Senior guard Mark Sui gave the Stags a 57-55 lead with 1:24 remaining on a 10-foot fadeaway from the right baseline, but Williams (20 points) answered with an 18-footer to tie with 53 seconds left. Sui got into the paint on the next possession with a chance to give CMS back the lead, but his teardrop bounced around the rim and fell off to give the Lutes the ball with about a two-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock. 

Pacific Lutheran nearly lost possession on the perimeter, but scrambled to recover the loose ball, and Williams was left needing to force the action as the shot clock was winding down. He took the ball from outside the three-point line on the left wing, darted into the middle inside the arc, and hit an off-balance 18-footer fading to his right with just 3.3 seconds to play. 

CMS had one final chance and threw the ball the length of the court to senior forward Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi in front of the CMS bench. Segura Dobjanschi tightroped the sideline and tried to pass the ball off for the potential game-winner, but he ended up with his foot on the sideline, turning the ball over to the Lutes, and Williams sealed the win with two foul shots with 0.7 seconds left. 

The Stags started slow after the long layoff, hitting just one of their first seven shots as they fell behind 10-2 in the opening minutes, and didn't take their first lead until the second half. After the Lutes maintained a 31-27 lead at the break and scored the first basket of the second half to stretch their lead to six, Sui hit a pair of jump shots around a lay-up from sophomore guard Mitchell Kirsch to tie the score at 33-33. Junior guard JD Levine then hit a three-pointer to make it a 9-0 run and put CMS ahead for the first time at 36-33 with 14:57 to play. 

A three-pointer from junior guard Miles President put CMS ahead 51-46 with 6:27 to go, the largest lead of the game for the Stags. Leighton Kingma answered right back with a tough, fading three-pointer for the Lutes to get the lead back down to two points at 51-49, and Pacific Lutheran pulled even at 55-55 on a Williams jumper with 3:16 to go, setting up his late dramatics.

Segura Dobjanschi led CMS with 13 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor, while President was also in double figures with 10. Junior forward George Walker had a strong effort off the bench with nine points on 4-5 shooting to go along with five rebounds, while Levine contributes five points, three assists and four steals. Williams (20) and Kingman (16) had most of the offensive production for the Lutes. 

CMS will be back in action after the new year when it returns to SCIAC play with a road game at Redlands on Saturday at 4 p.m.