CMS Men's Basketball Gets Back on Winning Track with 71-49 Victory over Caltech

Kele Mkpado had 13 points on 5-7 shooting to lead the Stags (photo by Kiubon Kokko)
Kele Mkpado had 13 points on 5-7 shooting to lead the Stags (photo by Kiubon Kokko)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - After seeing its seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team bounced back to take a convincing 71-49 win over Caltech on Saturday evening at Roberts Pavilion.

With the win, CMS improves to 17-4 overall and 9-3 in the SCIAC and moves closer to earning home court advantage in the SCIAC Semifinals. Caltech, which came into the day tied for third in the league, slips to 8-12 overall and 6-5 in the conference with the loss. 

The Stags had a balanced offense, led by 13 points from senior Kele Mkpado off the bench, who had all 13 of his points in the first half to help stake CMS to a 31-25 halftime lead. Senior guard Miles President added 12 points to improve his career total to 984, leaving him 16 shy of joining the 1000-point club. The Stags also had three other players with nine points, including senior JD Levine, senior Maxwell Kirsch and junior Mitchell Kirsch.

After taking the six-point lead into the break, CMS finally got separation with an 8-0 run that turned a 35-29 lead into a 43-29 advantage. Senior forward Jeremy Horn started the run with a layup, and Mitchell Kirsch followed with a layup off a feed from first-year guard Brian Kenyon to get the lead to 10 points. Levine then had a backbreaking four-point play on a three-pointer and a foul to push the lead to 43-29 and put the Stags in control. 

After a Caltech basket, first-year guard Josh Angle knocked down a three-pointer, and sophomore forward Sam Johnson came off the bench for two straight baskets to push the lead to 20 at 53-33 with 9:20 to go, and the Beavers were unable to threaten the rest of the way.

Mitchell Kirsch had nine rebounds to go with his nine points to come up just shy of a double-double.  The Stags held a 48-28 rebounding edge overall, as Walker added seven off the bench in 15 minutes, and Horn had seven in 16 minutes. Mkpado also had four steals on defense to help hold Caltech to only 49 points on the day. 

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Occidental for another key SCIAC matchup at 7 p.m., before hosting Senior Night next Wednesday against Redlands (Feb. 19).