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CMS celebrated seniors Jeremy Horn, George Walker, JD Levine, Miles President, Maxwell Kirsch, and Kele Mkpado prior to the game. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)
CMS celebrated seniors Jeremy Horn, George Walker, JD Levine, Miles President, Maxwell Kirsch, and Kele Mkpado prior to the game. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)

CMS Men's Basketball Comes Up Just Short to Redlands 82-80 in Home Finale

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team honored its six seniors prior to the game, but unfortunately just missed on a storybook ending for the ages when its game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer hit off the rim, as the Stags dropped an 82-80 decision to Redlands on Wednesday evening in its final regular season home game at Roberts Pavilion.

The win was the seventh in a row for Redlands, which improves to 17-6 overall and 10-4 in the SCIAC, while CMS falls to 17-6 overall and 9-5 in league play, falling into fourth place with two games to go. The Stags need to win just one of their final two games to clinch a bid in the SCIAC tournament (at La Verne on Saturday and at Chapman on Tuesday).

The six members of the Class of 2020 were honored for Senior Day prior to the contest (Jeremy Horn, Maxwell Kirsch, JD Levine, Kele Mkpado, Miles President and George Walker), and the six players combined to score 69 of the 80 CMS points on the day. Included in that total was the 1000th career point for President, who came into the day with 988 and crossed the 1000-point plateau late in the first half with a five-foot running bank shot to give him 13 points on the night and 1001 in his career. 

President finished with 23 points, two shy of his career high set at Whittier last year. He nearly had the ultimate ending when his off-balance game-winning three-point attempt, while falling into his own bench, hit off the rim and bounced away. Had it gone in, it would have been a buzzer-beating three-pointer to set a new career high on a Senior Day where he scored 1000 career points, but the Bulldogs defended the perimeter well and made it a high degree of difficulty shot. 

It didn't appear that the Stags would need any late heroics after they led by 14 early in the second half (55-41) after two President foul shots. The Bulldogs heated up, though, and surged back within 57-52 after a Griffin Barker lay-up. Levine answered with a three-pointer to push the lead to eight, but Barker had an old-fashioned three-point play to get those three-points right back. 

A three-pointer from Jack Roggin tied the score 60-60 to cap an 8-0 run, and another Roggin three gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half at 63-62 with 8:26 left. Kirsch answered the call, though, with two three-pointers in a row to put CMS back up by five. 

However, Roggin hit two more threes for the Bulldogs to give his team back the lead at 71-70 with 6:04 left and a Barker three-point play gave Redlands its largest lead of the second half at 74-70. A big three-pointer from Mkapdo got the lead down to one again, and after Redlands pushed the lead back to four, Horn got the Stags within 81-79 with a jumper with 1:46 left, but CMS ended up unable to complete the comeback on its final three possessions.

President became only the 20th player in CMS men's basketball history to score 1000 career points with his milestone basket in the first half. He is also only the second Harvey Mudd student to hit 1000 points, joining Dick Barton, who accomplished the feat over 50 years ago in 1966-67. The last Stag to reach that mark was Michael Scarlett in 2017-18, a teammate of President's for two SCIAC Championship seasons. 

In addition to President's 23 points, Horn finished with 18 and Kirsch had 15 as the three senior starters had 56 points between them. Kirsch also had six assists and no turnovers from his forward position.  Barker tied President for game-high honors with 23 points, while Roggin had 14 after knocking down four straight three-point attempts in the second half. 

CMS will head to La Verne on Saturday for a 2 p.m. contest, looking for a win to clinch a berth in the SCIAC Tournament. A loss would open the door for Chapman to catch the Stags for the fourth and final spot when the teams meet on Tuesday in the regular season finale (which would give the Panthers the tiebreaker with CMS after a head-to-head sweep).