THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Squaring off in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action, the Cal Lutheran men's basketball team fell 62-54 to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps after a late rally from the Stags inside Gilbert Arena on Wednesday night.
The game was tight from the get go as neither team led by more than three points throughout the first half. CMS made an effort to pound the ball inside and scored 20 of its 32 first half points in the paint, while CLU benefited from outside jump shots, particularly a trio of three-pointers from Justin Kam to keep the game close.
In a physical battle, 22 fouls were called in the first 20 minutes and the Stags went into the break with a slight 32-30 lead.
Coby de Laveaga opened the second half with back-to-back jump shots for the Violet and Gold and Jeremy Sulker-Hall converted a field goal to bring CLU within one, 39-38, with 14:54 remaining.
After a pair of free-throws from Dan Wade, Sulker-Hall hit another jumper and Kam drained a three-pointer to give CLU its biggest lead of the game, up four, 45-41 with 11:48 on the clock.
CMS, however, would respond with a 12-2 run punctuated by a Michael Scarlett triple to put the Stags up by six, 53-47, with 5:50 to go. The Kingsmen cut the deficit to two points after yet another three-pointer from Kam, but CMS responded with another run to close out the game.
Kam set a new career-high with his game-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from downtown and finished 6-for-11 from the field overall. Sulker-Hall finished with nine points and six rebounds and Connor McGuire grabbed a game-high 11 boards.
CMS had three players reach double-figures, led by Shelby Lane with 14, followed by Nicolas Segura with 13 and Scarlett with 12.
Cal Lutheran (7-8, 3-5 SCIAC) will return to conference action this Saturday, Jan. 30 against Redlands at 2:00 p.m. inside Gilbert Arena.