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Rhett Carter had 24 points on 11-13 shooting (photo by Stella Cheng)
Rhett Carter had 24 points on 11-13 shooting (photo by Stella Cheng)

Redlands Comes Back to Edge CMS Men's Basketball in SCIAC Semifinals

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's basketball team had a 12-point lead early in the second half, but Redlands was able to fight all the way back to pull ahead late and capture an 83-78 win over the Stags on Friday night in the SCIAC Semifinals at Roberts Pavilion.

With the win, Redlands improves to 19-7 and will host the championship game tomorrow night against Cal Lutheran, which upset top-seeded Pomona-Pitzer in the other semifinal. CMS falls to 21-5 with the loss and will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship when the bracket is revealed on Monday. 

Redlands took its first lead of the second half at 74-73 with 2:10 to go, but Max McCalla went coast to coast for a tough driving lay-up to put CMS back in front seven seconds later. After a pair of offensive rebounds, Redlands called a timeout, and Neil Owens made a three-point play to put the Bulldogs ahead to stay with 1:22 on the clock. 

Nathaniel Johnson had a blocked shot to deny CMS the tying basket with 1:12 to go, and another offensive rebound after a late shot clock miss forced the Stags to foul. The Bulldogs split two at the line, and Josh Angle made two foul shots to cut it to one, which were answered by Redlands with two foul shots of its own. Angle's tying three-point attempt with 12 seconds left under heavy defensive pressure hit off the rim and the Stags weren't able to get another tying shot off as the Bulldogs held on. 

CMS closed out the first half with a James Frye three-pointer and a Josh Angle jumper to take a 10-point lead into the break at 47-37, and Frye started out the second half with a pair of foul shots to make it a 12-point game. After CMS maintained about a 10-point lead for the first 10 minutes of the second stanza, Redlands was finally able to sustain a run and put together seven straight points to close to within 61-58 with 10:11 to play. Josh Angle hit a three-pointer to get the lead back to 68-62, but Redlands was able to take its first lead of the second half with 2:10 to go on a pair of Owens foul shots.

Rhett Carter finished with 24 points for CMS on 11-13 shooting, while also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and recording three blocks. Angle had 18 points, Kruse had 16 and Frye had 15. Owens led all scorers with 27. 

CMS, which has spent all year in the national rankings, will hope that the selection committee looks favorably on its body of work, which includes a win over Mary Hardin-Baylor. If the Stags were to get in, they had key rotation players Matt Meredith and Justin Pratt return in the last two games after missing more than a month apiece, and they could have a deeper team ready to compete in the NCAA Tournament.