CLAREMONT, Calif. (Jan. 12, 2008) – For Occidental College men’s basketball, the opening game of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action was not what the Tigers had become accustomed to thus far in the 2007-08 season.
Entering the night riding a nine-game win-streak, a strong Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team upset # 21 Occidental, sending the Tigers home with a 55-42 loss to open up SCIAC play.
After Claremont-Mudd-Scripps opened the contest with a 10-0 run in the first five minutes, Oxy chipped away to pull within five at the half. However, the mid-way mark was merely 20-15 in favor of the Stags.
A 14-4 run to open the second half gave Occidental a five point lead, their largest of the evening. The advantage soon turned back into a deficit for the Tigers, though.
A pair of CMS free-throws at the 10:45 mark knotted the game at 31-31. The Stags regained the lead for the final time when Chris Blees hit a shot with just over 10 minutes to go in regulation. CMS continued on another 10-0 run and never looked back.
Oxy struggled from the field all night, shooting just 28% overall and 58.8% from the free throw line, while the Stags put together a 44.2 field goal shooting percentage with a combined 80% free throw average on the night.
The Stags out-rebounded the Tigers 37-28, although Oxy managed to grab nine offensive boards to CMS’s seven.
Dan Winterbottom and Austin Soldner shared the scoring lead with 14 apiece for the Stags. Connor Whitman scored a team-high 12 points and Joe Sasich tallied 11 for Oxy. Whitman was 4-for-5 from the line.
Sasich was the Tigers’ leading rebounder with seven, four on the offensive end. Chris Pitcher and Chris Hunt grabbed six apiece. CMS’s Chris Blees grabbed a game high nine boards.
Winterbottom and Gemayal McBride handed out four assists each for the Stags and Tigers, respectively.
Occidental forced 18 turnovers, but they led to just seven points, while the Stags managed to convert 13 Tigers’ turnovers into 15 points. Sasich and Pitcher each had two steals for Oxy in the game.
The Tigers fall to 10-2 overall, 0-1 in SCIAC as the Stags improve to 7-5 overall, 1-0 SCIAC.
Oxy will return to Rush Gymnasium to host Caltech on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in their first home SCIAC game of the season.