Stags Lose 6th Street Showdown in Heartbreaker
CLAREMONT, CA – CMS archrival Pomona-Pitzer knocked off the top team in the SCAIC Tuesday night in the Stags' regular season finale. Sagehen guard Kyle McAndrews made three clutch free throws with 0.4 seconds left, and the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens spoiled Senior Night at Ducey Gymnasium with a 51-50 victory over the CMS Stags, who had won their previous eight games. The Stags had already clinched home-court advantage for the conference postseason tournament, but the win for the Sagehens gave them at least one guaranteed home game as well.
CMS was down by four going into the half 26-22 but turned the deficit into a six point lead with 13:22 left in the second half. Despite a Sagehen comeback, an incredible, contested three-pointer from the right wing by Remy Pinson gave the Stags a two point lead with 10.1 seconds left. Then, McAndrews, just a freshman, shot a desperation three-pointer fading away in the right corner to no avail. But the man who made the heroic shot less than ten seconds previously, and the same player who won the game for the Stags in the teams' previous meeting this season, Remy Pinson, fouled McAndrews in the act of shooting. McAndrews sunk all three free throws to seal the victory for the visiting Sagehens.
CMS was led on the offensive end by preseason All-American Chris Blees. Blees dropped in a game-high 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds; he also swiped two steals. The usually deep Stag bench was stifled, accounting for only eight points.
McAndrews was the only Sagehen in double figures, with 16 points, to go along with a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line in 24 minutes played.
Looking ahead to the SCIAC Conference Tournament, both teams from Claremont will sport home court advantages in Friday's semifinal matchups. #1 CMS (23-2, 12-2 SCIAC) will host #4 Redlands (13-12, 8-6 SCIAC), the defending postseason champions, at Ducey Gymnasium, and #2 Pomona-Pitzer (15-9, 10-4) invites #3 Whittier (18-7, 10-4 SCIAC) to Voelkel Gymnasium. Both games take place Friday evening at 7:30 pm; the Conference Championship Game will take place on Saturday evening at the home of the highest remaining seed.