CMS Men's Basketball Clinches Home Court in Semifinals with Dominant Win over Cal Lutheran

JD Levine had 11 points off the bench as one of three Stags in double figures in a lopsided win over Cal Lutheran
JD Levine had 11 points off the bench as one of three Stags in double figures in a lopsided win over Cal Lutheran

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team secured home court advantage for the SCIAC semifinals next weekend with a resounding 84-46 road win over Cal Lutheran on Saturday evening in its second to last regular season game of the 2018-19 campaign.

Senior forward Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi had 21 points to lead the way for the Stags, who improve to 18-6 overall and 12-3 in the SCIAC, and will host Occidental in a semifinal on Friday night at 7 p.m., even after the Tigers were able to upset first-place Pomona-Pitzer earlier on Saturday. Segura Dobjanschi, senior Mark Sui and senior Ryan Kusch will first have their Senior Day on Tuesday night for the regular season finale against Chapman at Roberts Pavilion at 7 p.m.

CMS would have already had homecourt advantage locked up if Pomona-Pitzer had won the earlier game with Occidental, but the Tigers' win meant that CMS took the court knowing that they would need to make matters into their own hands, either with a win at Cal Lutheran or on Tuesday night against Chapman. The Stags left nothing to chance, building a 36-23 halftime lead and then exploding for 48 points in the second half, while once again holding the Kingsmen to 23. 

The Stags took control early, with Segura Dobjanschi hitting two straight baskets and Sui knocking down a three-pointer for a 7-0 run to make the score 14-6. Sophomore guard Chukwueloka Oti gave CMS its first double-digit lead at 20-10 with 11:21 left in the half, and after the Kingsmen got back within seven, the Stags extended their lead up to as many as 16 at 36-20 on two Segura Dobjanschi foul shots. CMS went cold over the final 3:04 of the half as Cal Lutheran was able to score the final three points of the half to make the score 36-23 at the break. 

The Kingsmen were still within 38-26 early in the second half, but an 11-2 run from the Stags, capped by a Segura Dobjanschi three-pointer, pushed the lead over 20 points at 49-28 with 14:55 left. Cal Lutheran answered with a basket, but junior guard Miles President hit two straight three-pointers, Oti knocked down a third, and junior guard JD Levine made it four treys in a row, to suddenly make the score 61-30 with 12:01 left. An Oti foul shot made it 13 straight CMS points and a 24-4 run over seven minutes to break the game wide open.

Freshman Alec Sinek hit a three-pointer to cap the scoring at 84-46, representing the largest lead for the Stags of the game at 38 points. 

Junior forward Jeremy Horn had a solid effort with 12 points on 6-7 shooting in only 16 minutes of playing time, while Levine was also in double figures off the bench with 11 points in 14 minutes on 4-7 shooting (3-5 from three). CMS held Cal Lutheran below 30 percent shooting for the game (14-47, 29.8 percent), while shooting 57.6 percent on its end of the floor (34-59). CMS also used its size advantage to outscore Cal Lutheran 44-12 in the paint and outrebound the Kingsmen 38-24. 

The Stags return home on Tuesday night for the regular season finale with nothing at stake as far as SCIAC seeding goes, but looking to continue its current late-season peak (blowout wins over La Verne and Cal Lutheran sandwiched around a statement win over Occidental) and send the Class of 2019 out with a win on their Senior Day.