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CMS men's basketball make it to second round of NCAA tournament

For the second year in a row Claremont-Mudd-Scripps squared off with the No. 2 team in the first round of the NCAA Division 3 Men’s Basketball Tournament only to face the No. 1 team in the second round.

In the first round last Friday in Walla Walla Washington, the Stags and Whitworth Pirates traded the lead 16 times in the contest with neither team holding more than a seven-point advantage. But when the dust settled after 40 minutes it was the Stags who earned the hard-fought 83-82 victory, according to a news release from CMS athletics.

The following night CMS took on No. 1 Whitman Blues in the second round and for the second year in a row, the Blues walked away with the victory and a trip to the sweet sixteen.

While Saturday's game had its own twists and turns, the ending felt eerily similar as the Blues narrowly edged the Stags, 89-84 in overtime.

Of the 64 teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, the Stags had the toughest path to the second weekend being dealt to the pod with the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the country still the Stags were just one shot away from escaping to the sweet sixteen.

"We had a little tough start, but I'm really proud of how resilient my team is," said head coach Ken Scalmanini after the game. "It was kind of our season in a nutshell, with us losing at the beginning and fighting back. We got down right away at the start of the game, but gave ourselves a chance to win in overtime…in the end it just wasn't our night."

The Stags end the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 20-8. CMS claimed their 20th SCIAC Championship and the sixth SCIAC Tournament Championship in program history this season.