CMS Men's Basketball Falls on the Road to Whitworth in 2019-20 Opener

Miles President had 14 points to lead CMS in its 2019-20 opener (photo by Daniel Addison)
Miles President had 14 points to lead CMS in its 2019-20 opener (photo by Daniel Addison)

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team couldn't dig its way out of a big first-half hole as it opened its 2019-20 season with a 93-83 defeat to host Whitworth on the first day of the Tip-Off Classic on Friday evening at Whitworth Field House.

Senior guard Miles President had 14 points, and senior guard JD Levine and senior forward George Walker each had 13 to lead CMS, which drops its season opener for the second year in a row after falling last year at Chicago in a much-lower scoring (51-43) opening contest. The Stags twice fell behind by 19 points against Whitworth before getting the lead down to single digits both times, but the Pirates were able to hold them off to secure the win.

Whitworth built a 41-22 lead in the first half before the Stags were able to get the deficit within 14 at the break. With the score 12-11 early, Ben College hit back-to-back three-pointers for the Pirates to stretch the lead to 18-11. The Stags were still within 27-21 when Whitworth went on a 14-1 run to take their largest lead at 41-22 with 3:26 left in the half. Senior forward Jeremy Horn stopped the run with a three-point play, and a putback at the buzzer from Walker made the score 47-33 at the half.

Levine hit a three-pointer to start the second half and get CMS back within 11 points, and a pair of foul shots from senior forward Maxwell Kirsch got the deficit down to single digits at 53-44 with 15:14 to play. Whitworth answered back with a 12-2 run to get the lead back up to 19, before CMS bounced back again with a 7-0 run, capped off by a lay-up from first-year forward Rhett Carter. Levine had a three-pointer and a jumper in the paint to get the lead down to 10 points at 70-60, but that was as close as the Stags could get until a Walker layup with 1:18 left made the deficit nine points at 86-77.

CMS played 16 players on the night, as its minutes and scoring were widely distributed amongst its roster. In addition to the three players in double figures for the Stags, Kirsch finished with nine and senior forward Kele Mkpado, first-year guard Josh Angle and Carter each had eight. College had 24 to lead all scorers for Whitworth, while Jordan Lester had 18 and Isaiah Hernandez had 16.

CMS will be back in action tomorrow on the second day of the Tip-Off Classic when it takes on George Fox for a 5 p.m. contest.