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CMS celebrates its first SCIAC title since 2018
CMS celebrates its first SCIAC title since 2018

SCIAC Champs! CMS Men's Basketball Takes Down Cal Lutheran 61-55 for League Title

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Tournament MVP Josh Angle had 17 points and first-year guard Will Householter went 6-6 from the line in the final minute to finish with 15 as the Claremont-Mudd Scripps men's basketball team defeated Cal Lutheran in the SCIAC Postseason Championship finals on Saturday evening at Gilbert Arena.

With the win, CMS improves to 20-6 and earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament when selections are announced on Monday, earning its first bid since the 2018 team won then SCIAC title. Cal Lutheran falls to 23-4 and sees its 19-game winning streak snapped, which came on Dec. 7 to CMS by almost the exact same score (60-55). 

This time around, CMS built a 16-point lead early in the second half, and had to hold on as the Kingsmen came all the way back to within four points. 

The Stags took a 32-27 lead into halftime and used a 13-2 run to extend the lead up to 45-29 on a Houselholter three-pointer with 15:34 to go. Cal Lutheran tightened up the defense, though, and came all the way back to within 49-45 with 7:16 left. 

Angle scored on a lay-up off a pretty feed from Caelan Jones with 5:25 to go to get the lead back up to 51-45, ending a stretch in which CMS scored just three points in 10 minutes, but was able to get enough stops to stay in front. 

Angle went to the bench with an injury with 4:18 to go but was able to come back in a minute later. Jones knocked down a big baseline jumper in his absence to push the lead to eight. 

Rhett Carter scored down low to push the lead to 55-45, but Cal Lutheran had one final push to get to within 55-50 and put the Stags at the line for a pair of one-and-ones. Householter, who came in shooting 94.7 percent from the line, hit all four foul shots around a Kingsmen three-pointer, and then salted it away with two more to put the Stags up eight with nine seconds left. 

Carter finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Stags, as he and Angle were able to earn a SCIAC title after coming back for their fifth (COVID) year after graduating from Claremont McKenna in 2023. The Stags, in fact, started four graduate students, with Will King (who graduated from Colby) and Caelan Jones (who graduated from Boston University) also in the fold (Jones will come back next year for his final season of eligibility). 

CMS will find out its tournament destination on Monday when the brackets are announced. The last two times the Stags went in 2017 and 2018, they were sent to the Northwest Conference to play at Whitman and Whitworth. Cal Lutheran at 23-4 could earn an at-large bid and give the SCIAC two teams in this year.