PASADENA, CA – In a game that saw 10 lead changes and eight ties the ClaremontMuddScripps men's basketball team pulled out a thrilling and hard fought overtime win over Caltech 69-65.
The Stags, who won the league's regular season and tournament title last season, came into the game in the top half of all major statistical categories in the league.
"The three underclassmen really stepped-up and played hard this evening. Probably the best game we have played since I have been here and we showed what we are made of," fifth year head coach Oliver Eslinger said. "Also, being alumni weekend, it was great for them to see us battle hard against the SCIAC's top team."
The first two minutes of the extra session were played at a back-and-forth clip until the Stags took the lead for good with 2:57 left. Kevin Sullivan hit a driving lay-up to give ClaremontMuddScripps a 62-61 lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Beavers turned it over on their ensuing possession which enabled the Stags to spread their advantage when Sullivan grabbed an offensive rebound and banked in another lay-up.
Still down by just one possession Caltech came-up empty when Michael Edwards missed a jumper with 1:42 left on the clock. Chris Rama made two foul shots to spread the Stags lead to five points (66-61). Edwards came down and hit jumper on the Beavers next chance with the ball but the Stags were equal to the challenge as Remy Pinson converted a lay-up with 34 seconds left.
Edwards got Caltech within three points once again as he nailed a jump shot with 21 ticks on the clock. Forced to foul, the Beavers sent Jack Grodahl to the foul line but he missed both free throws. Caltech's offense raced down the court but Bryan Joel missed a lay-up with 10 seconds left and the Stags grabbed the rebound. Caltech was forced to foul and when Jack Earley made the second of two free throws with five seconds left it sealed the win.
The Stags led the game for most of the second half but a hard fighting Caltech squad never let the game get out of reach. Andrew Hogue's three-pointer with 4:20 left gave the Beavers their first lead of the second frame at 51-48. ClaremontMuddScripps retook the lead at 53-52 when Grodahl hit a three-pointer with 2:01 left.
The score stayed that way until Grodahl hit two free throws with 23 seconds left to increase the visitors lead to 55-52. Hogue brought Caltech within 55-53 with 10 ticks remaining. After the Stags missed two free throws two seconds later the Beavers were able to force OT when Joel calmly nailed two shots from the charity stripe with four seconds left. An off balance three-pointer by the Stags didn't draw iron at the buzzer.
The first half was low scoring as each team played solid defense but, in what proved to be a pivotal play in the contest, Pinson hit a running 25 footer as the halftime horn sounded. The off balance shot gave the visitors a 28-21 lead at intermission.
Each team placed four players in double figures.
Joel's 16 points off the bench led all scorers. Edwards chipped in a 14-point evening while Hogue and Kc Emezie each added 13 points. Alex Runkel set a school record with seven steals while grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring five points.
Caltech held a 42-38 rebounding edge over the SCIAC's top rebounding team.
The Stags scoring was led by Sullivan's and Pinson's 13 point evenings.