ORANGE, Calif. – Throughout the early portion of the season, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team's streak of SCIAC Postseason Tournament appearances appeared to be in jeopardy after a 2-6 start in conference play. The Stags however came together over the final eight conference games (6-2 record) of the season which included a must-win, 77-73 road victory over SCIAC regular season champion Chapman on Feb. 23 in the regular season finale.
The win over Chapman put CMS (13-11, 8-8 SCIAC) in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 4 seed, and sets up a rematch with Chapman in the SCIAC semifinals on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Orange. CMS has made the SCIAC Postseason Tournament in every year of the tournament's existence, the only men's basketball team to have done so.
In a tightly contested game on Tuesday night, the largest lead for either team (seven points) came with 5:09 remaining in the first half after back-to-back buckets by Chapman's Luke Hamlin and Rob Nelson. Sophomore guard Michael Scarlett (CMC) answered for CMS with a three-pointer to narrow Chapman's lead to 37-33 with 4:56 left in the half. Sophomore forward Nicolas Segura (CMC) made a pair of free-throws and freshman guard Evan Davis (CMC) followed with a jumper to tie the game at 41. Just before halftime, senior forward Jason Harrington (CMC) put CMS ahead 43-42 with two free-throws. Harrington had a team-high 13 points for the Stags.
CMS' largest lead of the game came at the 11:31 mark of the second half on Segura's bucket that pushed the advantage to 57-51. Chapman (18-6, 12-4 SCIAC) tied the game on a handful of occasions and jumped back ahead twice. The last Chapman lead came when James Taylor scored to make it 64-63 with 5:39 left.
A week after having a big bucket in the win over Pomona-Pitzer, senior guard Jack Earley (CMC) came away with another late-game, clutch basket against Chapman. His three-pointer broke a tie game (72-72) with 40 seconds left and gave CMS the lead for good.
Earley scored nine points on the night, while Scarlett scored 12 points and senior center Shelby Lane (CMC) scored 10 points.
Hamlin posted 26 points to pace Chapman's offense.
Video and live stats are available for Friday's game at Chapman.
By Chris Watts
Director of Athletics Communication
Claremont McKenna College
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