CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team started the game with a 13-2 run and never looked back as it captured a 73-49 home win over La Verne on Monday evening at Roberts Pavilion.
The win improves the Stags to 16-6 overall and 10-3 in the SCIAC and sets up an important showdown on Wednesday night at Roberts Pavilion against 11-3 Occidental. The two teams are tied for second place in the SCIAC in the loss column, with CMS winning the first meeting back on Jan. 7, which would give the Stags the season sweep and the tiebreaker advantage if it can defend its home court on Wednesday, which would put a potential rematch between the teams in the SCIAC semifinals at CMS.
Junior Maxwell Kirsch came off the bench to lead the Stags in scoring with 15 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor. Kirsch was 4-4 in the first half (3-3 from three) after shooting 6-6 from the floor (3-3 from three) in Saturday's win over Caltech. After hitting 10 shots in a row, he finally missed one when his first three-point attempt of the second half rimmed out.
CMS held La Verne to just 37.0 percent shooting on the game (20-54), while forcing 20 turnovers and committing only eight. The Stags shot over 50 percent in the first half (16-30, 53.3 percent) in one of its most efficient offensive halves of the season.
Junior guard Miles President knocked down a three-pointer to open the scoring, and the Stags led the rest of the way, building as much as a 30-point lead early in the second half. A lay-up from junior forward George Walker capped off the 13-2 run to start the game, and Kirsch had a three-pointer, steal, dunk, and three-pointer in a rapid sequence of just over a minute off the bench to turn an 18-8 lead into a 26-10 advantage with 10:27 left in the half.
Senior forward Nicolas Segura Dobjanschi converted int the paint off a feed from senior Ryan Kusch to build the lead up to 20 points at 32-12 with 6:44 left in the half, and junior guard JD Levine stretched it to 25 at 37-12 with a three-pointer at the 5:31 mark. A three-pointer from freshman guard Charles Meng gave CMS its largest lead of the first half at 43-14, before Alec Vucinich closed out the half with a three-pointer for La Verne, making it 43-17 at the break.
Senior guard Mark Sui hit a jumper to give CMS its largest lead of the contest at 49-19 with 15:40 to go, and the Stags were able to empty the bench down the stretch, resulting in 13 different players getting into the scoring column and nobody playing more than 24 minutes. None of the CMS starters were in double figures, as Segura Dobjanschi, President, and junior forward Jeremy Horn all had nine, while Sui added eight. La Verne didn't have anyone in double figures at all, with Luke Edwards leading the way with nine, leaving Kirsch as the only player on either team to score 10 or more, which he accomplished in the first half alone.
The Occidental game will tip off at 7 p.m. at Roberts Pavilion on Wednesday night as the Stags try to secure a home playoff game. CMS still has to go to Cal Lutheran on Saturday, before hosting Chapman on Tuesday, Feb. 19 for the regular season finale, which will also be Senior Day for Segura Dobjanschi, Sui and Kusch.