Second Half Push Sends CMS Men's Basketball to Seventh Straight Win

Second Half Push Sends CMS Men's Basketball to Seventh Straight Win

ORANGE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team used a key 7-0 run to stretch a one-point lead to eight in the closing minutes and went on to capture a 66-57 win over Chapman on Saturday afternoon.

Senior forward Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi, who was coming off a career-high 28 points in Wednesday's win over Whittier, shook off a slow start (2-7 in first half) to score 14 of his 18 points in the second half, including a highlight-reel dunk at a pivotal moment following a Chapman four-point play. 

With the win, the Stags are now 13-4 overall and 7-1 in the SCIAC, winning the last seven league games in a row (five of which have come on the road). Chapman falls to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in league play with the loss. 

Chapman held a narrow 27-25 lead at the break, and after CMS went ahead by five at 42-37 on a three-pointer from sophomore guard Chukwueloka Oti, the Panthers scored the next four points to pull within 42-41 with 8:37 left. 

It was then that the Stags stepped up with their 7-0 run to take control of the game, as Oti started the run with a lay-up on a backdoor feed from junior forward Maxwell Kirsch. Junior forward Jeremy Horn then tipped in a rebound with 7:36 left to get the lead back up to five, and sophomore guard Mitchell Kirsch got the rim for a lay-up with 6:24 to go to make it a seven-point game. After another stop, Horn split two at the line to give CMS its largest lead of the game to that point at 49-41 with 5:47 to go. 

It looked for a moment like Chapman might take some of the momentum back, as Reed Nakakihara hit a three-pointer while being knocked to the ground for a four-point play to cut the lead in half, but Segura Dobjanschi answered with the highlight play of the night. After taking a post feed from senior guard Mark Sui to the right of the basket, Segura Dobjanschi used a quick drop step to the baseline before rising up and dunking on two defenders to stretch the lead to 51-45. 

Chapman threw the ball away into their own backcourt on the next possesion, and Mitchell Kirsch drained a three-pointer from the left corner on a feed from junior guard Miles President to suddenly push the lead back up to nine (54-45) with 4:52 to go. Chapman answered back with two straight baskets to cut it to five, but President hit a three-pointer off a kick-out pass from Segura Dobjanschi to short-circuit the Chapman comeback effort. 

After a Chapman basket cut the lead back down to six, Segura Dobjanschi scored nine straight CMS points over a span of two minutes on three baskets and three foul shots, capped off by a dunk off an outlet pass from junior guard JD Levine with 1:00 to go to make the score 66-54 and put the game away. 

President was also in double figures for CMS with 11 points, as the Stags used some solid balance and efficiency (25-50 FG, 7-13 from three) to offset a 26-point effort from Chapman guard Cam Haslam. 

CMS will head to Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday in a first-place battle. The Sagehens came into the day undefeated in the SCIAC, heading into their game at Caltech, with the Stags one game behind. Pomona-Pitzer won the first meeting between the teams back in December, but CMS can pull back even for first with a split of the season series.