Stags Undefeated in David Wells Classic

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s
basketball team hosted the annual David Wells Classic on Nov. 28 and
29, capping off their Thanksgiving weekend with two double-digit wins, a 55-34
victory against Lewis & Clark and a 71-55 defeat of Grove City
College.

The Stags (4-1) came out at a steady pace
against Lewis & Clark (4-2), holding on to a 6-point lead until 15 minutes into
the first half. After the Pioneers rallied in the next few minutes, scoring 8
consecutive points and taking the lead, Tyler Gaffaney CGU ’15 sunk two
back-to-back free throws to put the game back into the hands of Stags, a lead
they fiercely hung on to. The teams traded baskets for the
remainder of the half, but a three-point jump shot from Jason Harrington CM ’16 stretched
the score to 22-20, and the Stags held the lead heading into the second half. 

The Stags put together a great
defensive effort in the first half, but after halftime, they took it to another
level by holding Lewis & Clark to 11 percent shooting. With 16:24 left in the game, Lewis
& Clark scored to close the gap on the scoreboard to 27-25. Even when the
score got tight, the Stags remained levelheaded and composed. 

“Honestly
I do not pay that much attention to the score during the game,” Jack Grodahl
CM ’15 said. “I just focus on playing smart and hard every possession, and I
think most guys on the team are the same way.”

A pair of
layups by Christian Mkpado CM ’15, and a basket by Grodahl started a 29-9 run in the final 15
minutes of the game for the Stags, ultimately leading to a huge win for CMS.

“It is easy to say we pushed through
and executed our way to a win, but, in my opinion, the biggest reason we were
able to extend the lead was Tyler Gaffaney,” Grodahl said. “We were able to get
a few stops on defense, and he stepped up and hit four or five shots in a row
that allowed us to take control of the game.”

 Gaffaney dominated on offense in
the second half with 18 of his game-high 23 points, including seven field goals, two three-pointers and seven free throws.

 The win
against Lewis & Clark was a momentous one for CMS, who held their
opponent to 34 points or less for the first time since a win over Caltech in
February of 2010.

With
one win under their belt, the Stags moved on to Sunday’s game against Grove
City (3-2) with hopes of increasing their record a second time. The
first half was tight: CMS entered the break only leading by two points at
28-26. Despite the pressure of the close score, Gaffaney managed to put up a game-high
20 points to push the Stags ahead.

 In
the second half, Grove City caught up to CMS at 40-40 just before the Stags
broke away on a 10-2 run. As
the game came to a close, Grodahl and Jack Early CM ’16 hit three-pointers and
continued the flow of points for the Stags. With
seven points from both Riley Hall CM ’17 and Michael Scarlett CM ’18, CMS secured
the win with a 71-55 victory.

CMS
looks forward to the week ahead as an opportunity to build on their successful game
tactics.

“We get a
full week of practice this week, and we will be spending a lot of time on our
timing and passing in our offense as well as attacking a press,” Coach Ken Scalmanini said.    

The
Stags are back on the court in a road contest against West Coast Baptist University on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., where they hope to continue their winning streak.

“West
Coast Baptist is a good team,” Grodahl said. “But with Tyler, Shelby, Jason and
Jack Early, I feel like we have the best players on the floor against every team
we play. If we execute well and compete hard, we have a great chance to win
every game we play.” 

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