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Justin Pratt drives to the basket (photo by Keilee Bessho)
Justin Pratt drives to the basket (photo by Keilee Bessho)

CMS Men's Basketball Grinds Out 74-64 Win Over Cal Lutheran

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team trailed 29-26 after a low-scoring first half, but opened up the offense in the second half with 48 points and came away with a 74-64 win over Cal Lutheran on Wednesday evening at Roberts Pavilion.

Josh Angle finished with 20 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor and Kiran Kruse had 18 points on 5-9 shooting for the Stags, who improve to 12-2 overall and 4-1 in the SCIAC with the win. Cal Lutheran slides to 7-7 overall and 4-2 in league play with the loss. 

CMS trailed by as many as nine in the first half, but closed strong to close it to a three-point deficit at the break. Brian Kenyon knocked down a three-pointer with 35 seconds left to close the gap to 29-24, and after CMS earned a stop, Angle found James Frye leaking out for a fast-break basket to beat the buzzer and make it a three-point game at the break. 

Kruse made three foul shots to close the gap to 36-35 with 15:45 left, and Rhett Carter followed with a tip-in to give CMS its first lead of the second half at 37-36 with 14:29 left. A 9-0 Cal Lutheran run turned a 49-44 deficit into a 53-49 lead, before CMS asserted itself.

With the Kingsmen still leading 55-53, Angle scored 12 straight CMS points on four possessions to put the Stags ahead to stay. He hit two three-pointers 29 seconds apart, the second one a four-point play after a foul was tacked on, to make it a 60-57 Stag lead with 7:22 to go. After Cal Lutheran got within one point, Angle hit three foul shots to extend the lead to 63-59, and then answered a Kingsmen jumper with one of his own to make it a 65-61 game with 6:20 left.

Cal Lutheran was within 65-62 at the 5:11 mark, but managed just two points the rest of the way as the Stags put the defensive hammer down. Carter hit a baseline jumper with 4:45 to go to beat the shot clock, and after Brock Susko scored on a fast break with 2:38 left, Kenyon drove to the basket with the shot clock winding down for a big basket to get the lead back up to five, and the Kingsmen weren't able to make it a one-possession game again.

Carter finished with 11 points to join Angle and Kruse in double figures, while Kenyon had nine points and five assists and Justin Pratt had eight points and eight rebounds, as the Stags nearly had five players in doubles. Kruse had a team-high four steals defensively to go with his 18 points. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to Caltech for a 4 p.m. contest.