LA VERNE, Calif. – After trading baskets with the University of La Verne (15-7, 9-4) for the majority of the game, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team (18-3, 11-2) ran out of punches as it fell 75-68 on Saturday night. The Stags and Leopards were neck-to-neck for most of the night, keeping the score within striking distance. However, with 8:35 left in the game, La Verne went on a 9-1 run to build an eight-point lead. The Stags struggled to catch up, closing the night with their second conference loss, but still remaining in first place.
Four Stags scored in double digits, including junior Michael Scarlett (CMC) who scored 26 points. Freshman Miles President (HMC) scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds while senior Riley Hall (CMC) scored 10 points and led the team with four assists and two steals. Kendall McClain finished the night with 19 points for the Leopards while his teammate Anthony White contributed 17.
The Leopards wasted no time to get White heated up, creating chances for the junior guard to make shots as they opened up with a 7-2 run. Scarlett quickly diffused the lead, hitting a 3-pointer followed by a layup to tie the game. La Verne suddenly caught fire from behind the arc, hitting four 3-pointers during a 14-4 run to build a 21-11 lead, the Leopards' biggest in the game. After the short timeout, the Stags responded by utilizing junior Kendrick Morris (CMC) to attack inside the paint. Morris scored five straight points to spark a 14-2 run for the Stags. During the run, junior Jack Ely (CMC) had a huge block to keep the momentum followed by a jumper. Scarlett closed the run with a 3-pointer to give the Stags a 25-23 lead with 7:02 left in the first half. The two teams remained fairly close and finished the half with the game tied at 32 apiece.
The two teams remained locked in close margins for most of the second half, but the Leopards managed to gain a significant lead with a 9-1 run thanks to the combined efforts of Jordan Stokes and Cruz Mertens. Trailing 64-55 with 3:11 left in the game, Scarlett managed to shake off his defender with a series of crossovers and pulled up from the top of the key to rally the Stags back in the game. Morris followed up with a jumper and Scarlett drew a foul to get to the line. The junior made both free throws to cut the deficit 64-61. Unfortunately a layup from Hakim Arnold and two free throws from White were enough for La Verne to ice the game.
The Stags will return home to host Cal Lutheran on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. CMS won its last meeting with the Kingsmen 86-71 back on Jan. 21 and will be looking for the season sweep.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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