CLAREMONT, Calif. - The CMS Men's basketball team rallied from as much as 13 points down and showed grit and toughness when needed it most. Four Stags scored in double figures and a 51-point second half lifted the Stags to a 81-70 comeback victory over Redlands on Saturday night at Roberts Pavilion.
With the win, the Stags improve to 14-5 overall and 8-2 in SCIAC play, and remain two games up on Occidental (7-3) for second place in the conference. The Redlands Bulldogs fall to 11-8 and 6-4 in the SCIAC. Despite the slow start for the Stags, which saw them shoot just 9-for-30 (30.0%) from the field, they were only down 36-30 at the half. The Stags began the game 0-for-10 from the field and found themselves down by a score of 12-2 early on, but a timeout helped the team regroup and get back into the game.
The leading scorer at the half was Miles President who had six of his team-high 14 points in the first stanza. Jeremy Horn and Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi scored four points a piece in the opening 20 minutes. Segura Dobjanschi would go on to score eight points in the second half and finish with 12 points and a team-high 13 rebounds for the game. Horn added eight second half points to round out his total to 12 points as well. Mark Sui finished with 11 points (nine in the second half) on 4-9 shooting to give the Stags four players in double-digits for the night.
Redlands opened the first half with a 9-0 run before Segura Dobjanschi made two free throws at 15:40 in the first half to give the Stags their first points of the game. Spencer Bandow made a three-pointer to extend the advantage to 12-2 for the Bulldogs at 14:56 in the opening half. Horn made a pair of free throws to get the Stags on the board once again and cut the deficit to eight points. Maxwell Kirsch then drained a three-pointer closing the gap to 12-7. After a Hass Berry layup, JD Levine swished a three-ball to cut the deficit to four with 12:12 left to play in the opening half.
David Menary responded with a three-pointer of his own for Redlands and pushed the Bulldog's advantage to 17-10 at the 11:57 mark. Three points by Michael Hanna stretched the Redlands' advantage to 20-10. Redlands would stretch its lead to the largest of the game for the Bulldogs to 26-13 with a 6-2 run and a made three-pointer by Maxwell Kirsch ended the run and subtracted the deficit to 10 points, 26-16 with 7:23 remaining in the first half. A pair of made free throws by Menary at the 2:58 mark would give the Bulldogs a 12-point advantage 34-22 but the Stags would finish the first 20 minutes on a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 36-30 at the halftime break.
Segura Dobjanschi slammed home a vicious dunk at the 16:13 mark of the second half and that basket seemed to light a fire under the Stags who would go on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to three, 46-43 at the 12:43 mark of the second half. Berry responded with a three-pointer to give Redlands a 49-43 advantage, but a three-ball by President cut further into the deficit that stood at three once again 51-48 with 11:46 left in the second half. President's second of back-to-back baskets cut it to a one-point game and moment began to shift in the Stags favor as they grabbed their first lead of the game, following a steal by Sui, on a three-pointer by Max Kirsch putting CMS in front 53-51 with 10:30 left in the second half.
CMS would not lose the lead for the rest of the game and stretched out its advantage to as much as 14 with 53 seconds left in the game. President shot 3-5 from three-point land 2-2 in the second half. Horn made all four of his baskets from the field in the second half. Segura Dobjanschi made three of his four made baskets in the second frame. Chukwueloka Oti hit a big three-pointer to cut the deficit to four in the second half en-rout to the comeback 11-point victory.
The Stags shot 65.4% (17-26) from the field in the second 20 minutes and raised their overall field goal percentage to 46.4% (26-56) for the game. CMS out-rebounded Redlands 45-28 despite what seemed to be a focal point for the Bulldogs to try and limit the Stags rebounding effectiveness. Redlands led for 27:54 of the game and CMS did not take its first lead until the second half and led for the final 10:31 of the contest. Mitchell Kirsch added seven points off the bench, joined by his brother Max Kirsch with nine points and George Walker with six points as the CMS bench outscored the Redlands bench 25-19.
Redlands was led by Joey Sponheim's 16 points, and joined by Berry with 13 points, Menary with 12 points, and Parker Landolf with 10 points to round out the double-digit scoring. The Bulldogs shot 11-30 (36.7%) from the field in the second half and were out-rebounded 14-4 over the second 20 minutes. The Bulldogs had the advantage when it came to fast break points, outscoring the Stags 17-0 in push the ball up the court situations. Despite a tough full-court press employed for the majority of the game by Redlands, CMS won the battle from the field with a 46.4% (26-56) night compared to 41.8% (23-55) for Redlands.
CMS Men's basketball is back in action on Feb. 2 against La Verne (0-10, 1-17) at Roberts Pavilion.