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Rhett Carter had 12 points on 6-7 shooting (photo courtesy Puget Sound)
Rhett Carter had 12 points on 6-7 shooting (photo courtesy Puget Sound)

CMS Men's Basketball Extends Winning Streak to Eight, Knocks off Occidental 70-56

EAGLE ROCK, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team closed out the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 33-28 lead into the break and never relinquished it, as the Stags captured a 70-56 road win over Occidental on Saturday afternoon at Rush Gymnasium.

With the win, CMS extends its winning streak to eight in a row as it moves to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the SCIAC. Occidental slips to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the SCIAC with the loss.

TJ Askew led the way for CMS with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, as the Stags had a balanced offensive attack with four players in double figures, while also holding a commanding edge in rebounding, finishing with a 40-25 edge over the 40 minutes.

CMS got off to a little bit of a sluggish start in its first road game since opening day (Nov. 19 against Puget Sound), trailing 7-2 and 11-5 in the opening minutes. Rhett Carter was big in the early going for the Stags, though, making three straight shots on a spin move, a put back, and a 15-foot jumper, to close the game to 11-9.

Occidental built its lead back up to 20-13, but a Kiran Kruse three-pointer started an 11-2 run that got CMS its first lead at 24-22 on two straight Josh Angle lay-ups. The Tigers went back ahead 28-26 with 3:27 left in the half, but the Stags rattled off seven straight points, the first five on a layup and three-pointer from Matt Meredith and the last two on a layup from Max McCalla, to take a 33-28 lead into the break.

The Tigers cut it down to one point at the start of the second half (34-33), but a 10-1 run, capped by a three-pointer from Meredith, gave CMS a 44-35 advantage. Occidental scored four straight points to make it a five-point game, but Askew and Brian Kenyon assisted on each other's three-pointers on successive possessions to open up a double-digit lead at 50-39.

After the Tigers closed to eight, Meredith hit an 18-foot jumper and McCalla added a three-pointer to push it 57-44 with 7:47 left, and the Stags were able to coast the rest of the way as Occidental was unable to put a run together to cut the deficit under 10.

The Stags had a balanced offense that at one point saw four of its starters with exactly 10 points each, before Askew finished with 15, Carter had 14 on 7-8 shooting, and Meredith and Angle each ended with 12.   

CMS will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Cal Lutheran for another SCIAC road contest, beginning at 7 p.m.