CMS Men's Basketball Can't Climb Out of Early Hole, Falls to Chapman 75-72

Maxwell Kirsch had 19 points to lead the Stags (photo by Kiubon Kokko)
Maxwell Kirsch had 19 points to lead the Stags (photo by Kiubon Kokko)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team fell into an early 10-0 deficit and couldn't get closer than three points the rest of the way as it fell to Chapman 75-72 in a SCIAC contest on Monday evening at Roberts Pavilion.

The loss snaps a six-game win streak for the Stags, who see their record fall to 9-3 overall and 1-2 in the SCIAC with the loss. Chapman, which had won eight in a row prior to losing to Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday, improves to 10-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play. 

Senior forward Maxwell Kirsch led CMS with 19 points on 7-9 shooting from the floor, while senior forward Jeremy Horn had 16 and junior guard Mitchell Kirsch had 11 points, six assists and no turnovers. Sam Barela led Chapman with six assists. 

CMS trailed by 13 in the second half, before rallying to within five at 65-60 on a Mitchell Kirsch layup with 1:35 left. Chapman scored the next four points to go ahead 69-60 before CMS had one final push. Mitchell Kirsch had two foul shots, and the Stags forced a turnover, which led to a Maxwell Kirsch put-back to make the score 71-66 with 15 seconds left. After Barela made two foul shots for Chapman, Maxwell Kirsch was fouled, making the first to pull CMS within 73-67, before missing the second on purpose. 

The rebound went out of bounds to CMS, and Mitchell Kirsch fed Maxwell Kirsch on the inbounds pass for a layup and foul with 5.5 seconds to go. The free throw was made to make the score 73-70, but Chapman's John Besse hit both of his shots at the foul line to effectively seal the win, and Mitchell Kirsch closed out the scoring with a layup with 0.3 seconds left to make the final 75-72.

CMS fell into a 10-0 hole by committing five turnovers on its first six possessions, before settling in and turning the ball over only five times the rest of the game. The Stags got as close as three points in the first half after the slow start, but Chapman was able to extend to a 28-16 advantage, its largest of the half, with 5:56 to go and settled for a 39-28 lead at the break.

The Stags pulled back within 43-36 with 15:00 left in regulation on a Maxwell Kirsch jump shot, and cut the lead to six points at 49-43 with 10:28 left on a Horn foul shot. A Barela three-pointer capped a 7-0 run for the Panthers to match their largest lead at 56-43 with 7:40 left, and CMS was able to battle back as close as three points in the closing seconds before coming up short. 

Chapman shot 59.5 percent from the floor on the night (25-42) against a stingy CMS defense that came in allowing its opponents to shoot just 40 percent, while the Stags shot 51 percent (25-49) on their offensive end. The Panthers earned the win at the foul line, where they were 21-23 (91.3 percent) on a day where the final margin ended up only three points. 

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday night when it hosts Cal Lutheran for a 7 p.m. contest.