THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Three four-year senior men's basketball players appeared on the court inside of the Gilbert Arena for one final time this evening. Unfortunately for the trio, the outcome was not what the Kingsmen had hoped for as they fell, 77-56, to the 2013-14 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags.
Prior to the game Steven Davis, Collin Knudsen and Michael Palmer were each joined by family members and thanked for their dedication and commitment to the CLU men's basketball program over the last four years. Each contributed tonight with Palmer leading the Kingsmen by netting 13 points, going 2-for-3 from three-point range. Davis and Knudsen each chipped in with four points, adding a steal and an assist, respectively.
John Green won the tip-off and scored the first basket from the floor to make it 4-0 in favor of the home team, though CMS quickly knotted the teams at 6-6. Cal Lutheran took a 13-11 advantage on an Arik Smith three-pointer at the 14:46 mark, but when the game's leading scorer, Tyler Gaffaney knocked down one of his three three-pointers he gave the Stags a 14-13 lead and sparked a 10-0 run that shifted the momentum in favor of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for the remainder of regulation.
Following the opening period, CMS was out rebounding CLU 18-7 and had nearly doubled the Kingsmen up in scoring at 45-25 after the Stags combined to shoot 64.3 percent from the field. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps remained hot in the second stanza, hitting 57.1 percent of its shots to finish at a clip over 61 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, Cal Lutheran hit a dismal 26.7 percent in the final 20 minutes and finished by connecting for just 32.7 percent overall and came away with just 25 boards.
A trio of Kingsmen scored double digits tonight with Smith and Coltrane Powdrill each scoring 11. Smith added three steals and Powdrill tallied two steals and two assists.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (19-5, 14-1 SCIAC) put four players in double figures, led by 23 from Gaffaney. Shelby Lane produced a double-double tonight with 12 point and a game-high 10 rebounds.
In other SCIAC action tonight, Chapman (16-9, 10-6 SCIAC) defeated La Verne (10-15, 7-9 SCIAC) to clinch the third spot in the final standings, dropping the Leopards into fifth, while CLU places fourth.
On Friday, Feb. 28, the 2014 SCIAC Post Season Tournament will feature fourth seeded Cal Lutheran (18-7, 9-7 SCIAC) at top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in one semifinal while Chapman will travel to Pomona-Pitzer (18-7, 13-3 SCIAC), who locked up second place, in the other semifinal. The two victorious squads will meet in the SCIAC Post Season Tournament title game on Saturday evening at the site of the highest remaining seed.