After losing to rival
Pomona-Pitzer last Saturday, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s basketball team
bounced back to defeat the California Institute of Technology 83-52.
“Coming off a loss against Pomona, we had a
bunch of extra motivation,” Jack Grodahl CM ’15 said. “We have been playing
together so well.”
With a season-high 23 team assists, the Stags
were able to see open looks as every member of the team contributed to the win.
CMS has many talented shooters—almost 50 percent from the field—but against Caltech their shooting percentage was even higher because of teamwork and working the ball inside. They shot 66 percent from
the field, while Caltech shot just 33 percent.
CMS also had 34 rebounds to their opponent’s 22, and saw some opportunities for second-chance points under the
“We knew at the beginning that we have a good
team and we have the potential to have a good season, but we’ve really come
together and we’ve been playing well,” Riley Hall CM ’17 said.
Both he and
Grodahl agree that their young team has improved in their offensive execution
“We have gotten a lot more physical and kids
are starting to pick up the offense more and more,” Grodahl said.
The Caltech Beavers came out strong in the first seven
minutes of the game, staying within five points of the Stags. Caltech’s Luke
Lango hit two back-to-back three-pointers before being answered by a three from
Tyler Gaffaney CM ’14 at 17:01.
A jump shot from Hall at 12:53 started the
Stags on a 19-0 run, and the Stags went up 33-11 before Caltech
finally answered at the second quarter’s 6:52 mark.
CMS continued their run into halftime, working
the ball inside and out. Guards Gaffaney and Remy Pinson CM ’14 each hit two
three-pointers, while post players Shelby Lane CM ’16 and Nick Lund CM ’16 went
perfect from the field, scoring seven and six points, respectively. The Stags went into halftime with a comfortable 44-22 lead.
In the second half, the Stags outscored
the Beavers by only nine points, but the cushioned lead at halftime was enough to pull away
with a 31-point victory.
Gaffaney led the Stag offense with 17 points,
while Lane and Grodahl finished with 13 and 10, respectively. Gaffaney also
added six rebounds. Hall played a solid all-around game with his seven points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Hall, who has been starting the last
five games for the Stags, has quickly adjusted to the difference in play at the
college level. Against Caltech, he posted a season high for rebounds and
“The biggest difference I noticed right away is
the size of the people I’m playing against,” Hall said.
Hall attributes his
own physical improvement in the face of these opponents to working in the weight room and practicing against teammate Jason
Harrington CM ’16, who is currently sitting out with an injury.
As the season winds down and teams face up
against each other again, staying healthy and preparing to face various opponents are the keys to earning wins down the stretch.
“You definitely know the personnel [of
opponents] better,” Grodahl said. “The biggest difference is they know you, so it’s tougher to
score for both teams.”
The Stags will be tested again on Feb. 15 as they host the University of La Verne Leopards at 5
p.m. in Ducey Gymnasium. In their last meeting, the Stags held the Leopards to
their lowest-scoring night of the season, defeating them 53-38. La Verne will be a no rollover opponent, as they are competing for third place in the SCIAC behind CMS and P-P.