Athenas and Stags Exit NCAA Basketball Tournament

Athenas and Stags Exit NCAA Basketball Tournament

The CMS men's basketball team played a tough contest against the only undefeated team in the country Whitman College (29-0) but ultimately fell 79-73 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. The Stags were able to take an early and went into halftime up 34-31.  Whitman started the second half with a full court press that ultimately led to a handful of turnovers and easy buckets for the Blues. 

The Stags will look to make a run in the tournament next year as they return four of the starting five in freshman Miles President and juniors Michael Scarlett, Jack Ely and Kendrick Morris. The game marked the conclusion of the fine career of senior Riley Hall. Morris led the Stags with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Scarlett (18), Hall (14) and President (12) also reached the double-digit mark in scoring. 

In a rematch of a first-round contest from a year ago the Athenas took on Trinity (Tx.) in the second round of the NCAA tournament and fell 77-66.  Trinity started the game off fast putting up 26 points in the first quarter before the Athenas defense was able to slow down the Tigers in the second and third quarters which saw the eight lead changes and ties. The Tigers pulled away in the fourth quarter outscoring the Athenas 22-15.  Aly Young led the Athenas with 17 points while freshman Maya Love had 11 rebounds. 

The game marked the conclusion of the fine careers of seniors Kris Brackmann, Claire Donnelly, Jai Dungca, Quinn Glosniak, Shaina Van Stryk and Aly Young.  CMS advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament each year during their careers and end with an overall record of 90-23. 

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For the second consecutive year the CMS women's basketball team traveled to Texas for the NCAA tournament and came away with a first round win. The Athenas defeated UT Dallas 79-63 and held the Comets to just 26 points in the second half highlighting their strong defensive play. 

All-SCIAC first teamer senior Kris Brackmann put up 18 points including making all nine free throws and recorded a season-high seven assists. Junior Kailee Severt had a game high 24 points, including a career high six 3-pointers.  The win marked head coach Kristen Dowling's 100th in her career. On Saturday, the Athenas will face Trinity, the No. 1 seed in the Regional at 7 p.m. CST. The No. 7 Tigers beat Hendrix 82-74 earlier on Friday to advance to the Round of 32.

Returning to the NCAA tournament since the 2014-15 season the Stags marched into the second round with a 78-73 win over Whitworth University.  The Pirates defended the SCIAC Athlete of the Year junior Michael Scarlett well, holding him to just 12 points. Fellow classmate Jack Ely stepped up contributing 17 points including a career-high three 3-pointers while junior Kendrick Morris had a team-high 24 points. 

With the win, CMS advances to play Whitman (28-0) in tomorrow's Second Round game at 7 p.m. The Blues beat Rhodes College 111-98 in Friday's First Round matchup to advance to the Round of 32. The winner of Saturday night's contest advances to the sectional round of 16. 

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The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s and men’s basketball teams will be representing the SCIAC in the NCAA tournament with first round games on Friday, March 3.

The Athenas enter the tournament at 19-3 (13-3 SCIAC) as the conference postseason champion after defeating Chapman 65-54 in the finals. This is the fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament by CMS as they take on host University of Texas-Dallas (25-3), the American Southwest Conference champion.

First team All-SCIAC member Kris Brackmann is averaging 11.5 points per game this season and leads one of the best defensive teams in the country. The Athenas have held opponents to 52.1 points per game this season, ranking them 29th in the country. On the other side of the bracket Hendrix (18-10) will face off against No. 8 Trinity (TX) (26-1). 

The CMS men will travel to Walla Walla, Washington to face Whitworth (23-4) in their first round contest. Whitworth earned an at-large bid after finishing the season as the Northwest Conference runner-up. The other side of the bracket features host and No.1 seed Whitman (27-0) and Rhodes (17-10). 

The Stags started conference play 10-0, but faced a setback when starting point guard, senior Scott Lynds, suffered a wrist injury. Taking time to readjust CMS finished the season 13-3 in conference play and entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed but needed to overcome an 18-point deficit to defeat Pomona-Pitzer 70-64 in the semifinals before battling Cal Lutheran to a 77-71 win in the finals. 

The Stags will rely on tough defense as well, boasting the 13th best in the nation, limiting opponents to 64.3 points per game. The SCIAC David Wells Player of the Year, junior Michael Scarlett, leads the team with 17.7 points per game while stepping into the point guard role. Second team All-SCIAC performer Kendrick Morris is averaging 12.8 points per game with an efficient 63.9 percent from the field this season.