Led by sharpshooting point guard Michael Scarlett CM ’18, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s basketball team (13-7, 11-1 SCIAC) scorched Sixth Street rival Pomona-Pitzer (10-11, 8-4) with a barrage of three-pointers Wednesday night, earning a 73-60 victory.
Though the Sagehens were hot on the Stags’ heels for most of the first half, Scarlett exploded after the break and finished with a season-high 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. The bearded senior was unguardable, shaking off defenders, draining tough shots, and driving through multiple Sagehens to the basket for layups.
“Michael’s a tremendous player,” CMS head coach Ken Scalmanini said after the game. “He’s probably one of the best shooters I’ve ever had. Free throws, open shots, late-clock situations — he was fantastic.”
Guard Scott Lynds CM ’18 scored 16 points and center Kendrick Morris CM ’18 chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Stags, who held off a tenacious P-P squad in the second half. CMS never trailed, but at one point the Sagehens got as close as 51-45.
Every time P-P made a run, though, the Stags just handed the ball off to Scarlett, who scored without fail and electrified the boisterous CMS crowd.
Down by nine with six minutes left, the Sagehens had a chance, but Scarlett and Morris traded off baskets as CMS went on an 8-0 run — including an impressive moment when Scarlett rebounded his own missed shot and made a layup — over the next four minutes, effectively putting the game out of reach.
It didn’t help that Sagehen guard Corbin Koch PO ’19, enduring a rough year after a stellar sophomore season, continued his recent slump and finished with just three points on 1-of-4 shooting. Instead, guards Daniel Rosenbaum PO ’19 and Micah Elan PZ ’20 led the Sagehens with 19 points apiece.
P-P played with intensity until the end, competing admirably on defense, and head coach Charles Katsiaficas took note.
“I thought we played a good ball game, and tonight was their night,” Katsiaficas said. “[Scarlett] had a heck of a game tonight. I thought we were working hard on [defense], and he created a lot of shots for himself. He got it going there in the second half.”
The loss dropped the Sagehens to fourth in the SCIAC standings, one game behind Chapman, while the Stags maintained their one-game lead over Occidental. CMS will take on the Tigers Monday in a battle for the No. 1 spot in the conference. P-P next plays Saturday at Cal Lutheran.