CLAREMONT, Calif. - The CMS men's basketball program will begin its quest for a third straight SCIAC Tournament Championship when it puts its top-ranked defense in all of Division III on the floor Occidental this evening at 7 p.m. in one of two conference semifinal games at Roberts Pavilion.
Tickets for SCIAC postseason events are $10 for general admission (12 and up), $5 for senior citizens (55 and up) and military personnel/veterans, and free for anyone with a valid SCIAC ID. Live video for the game will also be shown through the SCIAC portal on Stretch Internet (link here).
The winner of tonight's semifinal game with Occidental will be back in action tomorrow for the SCIAC final against the winner of the other semifinal between No. 4 Redlands and No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer. If Pomona-Pitzer wins, the Sagehens would host the championship game against the Occidental-CMS winner.
The Stags could host the final if it defeats Occidental and Redlands upsets Pomona-Pitzer, in which case the championship would be held at Roberts Pavilion at 7:30 p.m., after the conclusion of the SCIAC Women's Basketball Championship game, which will be held at 5 p.m. between Pomona-Pitzer and CMS.
CMS (19-6, 13-3 SCIAC) is looking to continue its momentum after a strong finish to the regular season, winning its last five games in a row. After stumbling to a road defeat at Whittier on Feb. 6, the Stags won four of their last five games by double-digit margins, with the only exception a hard-fought eight-point win over Occidental (65-57) on Feb. 13.
The Stags currently lead the nation in scoring defense at exactly 60.0 points per game, just ahead of Wisconsin Stevens Point at 60.2. CMS held three of its last four opponents under 50 points, including an 84-46 win at Cal Lutheran on Saturday and a 62-45 win over Chapman on Tuesday in its regular season finale.
Offensively, senior forward Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi has been the primary weapon for the Stags, entering the postseason averaging 16.0 points per game, to go along with 7.4 rebounds. Junior guard Miles President is averaging 11.2, including 12.1 in SCIAC games, and was named the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his role in helping the Stags to a 3-0 week, including the win over Occidental.
CMS won both games with Occidental during the regular season, but both were closely contested. The Stags held on for a 63-60 win at Occidental on Jan. 7, when the Tigers missed a potential tying three-pointer at the buzzer. In the rematch last week, with homecourt advantage in the semifinals on the line, the Stags overcame a 38-32 halftime deficit by holding Occidental to only 19 points in the second half, taking the 65-57 win.
The Stags have won the last two SCIAC Tournament Championships and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament both years. After graduating four starters off last year's team, including All-American guard Michael Scarlett, CMS has earned its way back to contender status with a largely new team, build around the inside play of Segura Dobjanschi and junior forward Jeremy Horn (10.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) around the perimeter play of President, the team's lone returning starter.