CMS Wins In Final Second, Edges Pomona-Pitzer 57-55

CMS Wins In Final Second, Edges Pomona-Pitzer 57-55

Facebook Photo Gallery (photos by Carlos Puma)

Claremont, Calif. - Freshman forward Jack Klukas (Eden Prairie, Minn.) hit a tying three-pointer with six seconds left (shot pictured), but Remy Pinson went coast to coast for the winning lay-up with 0.5 seconds on the clock as the No. 12 ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Men's Basketball edged Pomona-Pitzer 57-55 in a neighborhood rivarly game on Wednesday evening at Voelkel Gymnasium.

The Stags remain perfect on the year at 15-0 with the win, including 4-0 in the SCIAC, while the Sagehens suffer their first conference loss of the year and fall to 8-6 overall and 3-1 in league play as it fell in front of an overflow crowd of 2,740 people, featuring packed student sections for both teams (the Pomona-Pitzer and CMS gyms are separated by approximately 1700 feet along Sixth Street).

Pomona-Pitzer trailed by four after a big three-pointer by Tyler Gaffaney with the shot clock winding down and 27.7 seconds left in the game made the score 54-50. Klukas, though, hit a tough running left-handed finger roll to cut the lead to 54-52 with 20 seconds left, and Chris Blees made one of two at the foul line to push the lead to 55-52 and keep it a one possession game.

Pomona-Pitzer called timeout near the left sideline, and sophomore forward Jake Klewer (Tucson, Ariz.) threw a looping crosscourt inbounds pass to Klukas, who nailed a clutch three-pointer in the right corner to knot the score up at 55-55 with six seconds left.

CMS elected not to use one of its remaining timeouts, and after a pause to get organized before inbounding the ball, put the ball in the hands of Pinson. At the top of the key, Pinson went to his right and crossed over to his left and was able to find a seam in the Sagehen defense. He then flipped up a left-handed lay-up before the help defense could arrive that found its way through the hoop with just 0.5 seconds left.

The heated rivalry then produced a long delay before the game could officially end. After the Stags fans rushed the court and had to be cleared, the Sagehens threw a long inbounds pass that went out of bounds without anybody touching it, causing a second premature court-storming.  After a second long delay, CMS was able to inbounds the ball with no problem under its offensive basket to finish off the two-point win.

The rowdy crowd, though, was a secondary issue compared to a dramatic basketball game that saw neither team lead by more than four points in the second half. The Sagehens led 28-24 early in the second half (16:30 to play), and CMS led 54-50 in the final minute, but in between, the game was played entirely within a three-point margin either way.

Pomona-Pitzer had the early upper hand, as it jumped out to a 19-9 lead early behind hot three-point shooting from its bench, as R.J. Maki (Claremont, Calif.), Danny Brown (Eugene, Ore.) and Po Grant (Brookline, Mass.) all connected from deep. However, CMS responded with an 11-0 run take a 20-19 lead, before a spinning jumper in the paint from freshman guard Kyle McAndrews (Seattle, Wash.) made the score 23-22 in favor of the Sagehens at the half.

Pomona-Pitzer's top three scorers were all freshmen, as Klukas finished with a game-high 13 points, guard Michael Cohen (Tarzana, Calif.) had 12 and McAndrews finished with nine. Pomona-Pitzer closed the game with three freshmen and two sophomores on the court.

Blees, the 2010 SCIAC Player of the Year, had an off-game overall (11 points and seven turnovers), but assisted on the final three Stag baskets down the stretch before the game-winner from Pinson, including the three-pointer from Gaffaney that put the Stags ahead 54-50, moments after Cohen had cut the lead to one point at 51-50. Blees and Gaffaney finished with 11 points apiece for CMS, while Pinson had 10, including the game-winner.

Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts La Verne at 7 p.m. in the second half of a doubleheader with the women's team, which tips off at 5 p.m.