Seniors Jeremy Horn (24), Maxwell Kirsch (20) Net Career Highs as Stags Roll Past Pacific 114-92

Maxwell Kirsch had a career-high 20 points, 7 assists and no turnovers against Pacific's pressure
Maxwell Kirsch had a career-high 20 points, 7 assists and no turnovers against Pacific's pressure

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Seniors Jeremy Horn and Maxwell Kirsch set new career highs with 24 points and 20 points, respectively, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team handled the high-octane Pacific (Ore.) offensive system with a 114-92 win on Saturday evening at Roberts Pavilion on the second day of the David Wells Classic.

With the win, CMS improves to 3-1 on the season after picking up two lopsided wins at the David Wells Classic, defeating Lewis & Clark yesterday 82-49. Pacific, which came into the evening scoring 107 points per game (but allowing 114 per game) slips to 2-5 with the loss. 

Horn shot 11-12 from the floor on his way to his personal-best of 24 points, breaking his old high of 20 set last season. Kirsch, meanwhile, finished with 20 points, seven assists and no turnovers to break his old personal high of 17 points set as a sophomore. The 114 points was the first time the Stags scored 100 or more since getting 101 in a win over Southwestern in 2016-17, and the most points since defeating Redlands 128-70 in 2005-06 (CMS also set a school record in points with a 137-96 win over Redlands the year before).  

Five players ended in double figures for the Stags overall, as junior guard Mitchell Kirsch had 14 points and seven assists on 6-7 shooting from the floor, senior guard Miles President had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, to go along with two assists and no turnovers while often serving as the point person against the press, and junior guard Chukwueloka Oti added 10 points off the bench. 

CMS did have 24 turnovers against the Pacific relentless pressure defense, that started with traps after made baskets or immediately after CMS defensive rebounds. Those turnovers were offset by 27 assists and 65.5 percent shooting from the floor (38-58), many of which were easy baskets at the rim after breaking the Boxers pressure. The Stags also eschewed the three-pointer, taking just nine shots on the day from beyond the arc (making three), while scoring 58 points in the paint. That was by design, according to Kirsch. 

"The way we watched them, we thought they would prefer us to take open threes quick," said Kirsch. "So we tried to get layups, and if we didn't get a layup right away, then we could take a three. But it was all about controlling the tempo, so staying away from those early threes was key. We knew we could get those same looks later in the shot clock."

CMS did have to play from behind in the early part of the contest, as Pacific took a 23-17 lead just over six minutes into the game. The Stags finally got in front with 7:00 left in the half at 34-33 on an Oti lay-up, and built a 10-point lead at 47-37 with 5:01 left in the half on a Kirsch-to-Kirsch lay-up with Maxwell finding his younger brother Mitchell for two in transition. Two President foul shots gave CMS its largest lead of the half at 54-38, before the Stags settled for a 58-45 lead at the break. 

After Pacific started the second half with a backdoor lay-up, Maxwell Kirsch knocked down a three-pointer, and a lay-up from Mitchell Kirsch with 16:08 left pushed the lead to 20 points for the first time at 71-51. The Boxers kept fighting and got as close as 11 points at 79-68 with 8:24 to play, but senior forward George Walker had a lay-up off a Maxwell Kirsch feed, and Walker found senior guard JD Levine for a three-pointer to get the lead back to 16, and the Stags were able to cruise the rest of the way.

A total of 36 players saw action in the game, with each team playing 18 players. CMS had a dominant 47-23 edge in the rebounding department, with Mitchell Kirsch and first-year guard Brian Kenyon leading the way with seven rebounds apiece out of the CMS starting backcourt. Davis Holly had 19 points to lead Pacific, while leading the Boxers with 19 minutes played. 

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Pomona-Pitzer for the first of two Sixth Street rivalry games scheduled this regular season.