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Stags Basketball Wins SCIAC Tournament

March 3, 2009

by Gui Schils
Stags Basketball Wins SCIAC Tournament

The Men’s Basketball team played twice this weekend against conference foes in the second annual SCIAC post-season tournament. In winning two tough games, the Stags clinched an NCAA Tournament bid and will travel to Whitworth, Washington to play Thursday. On Friday night, the Stags took on Cal Lutheran in a packed Ducey Gym. With a rowdy crowd sporting special 6th Man T-shirts, the Stags jumped out to a quick lead and held a comfortable 28-18 halftime margin over the Kingsmen. Cal Lu was not finished however, and came out firing in the second half.

In the second, the Kingsmen went on a 15-5 run to close the lead and eventually open up a 4 point margin of their own. The Stags hung tough, and used a balanced team effort to garner a crucial 9-0 run. The Stags iced the game from the free throw line, making 9 of 10 in the final minute to cement the 60-54 win.

Next up for the Stags was rival Pomona-Pitzer, who downed Whittier the night before. These rivals had split the season series 1-1, and the rubber match had all the drama the fans could expect. Ducey Gym, according to a number of former and current players, was swaying with the a level of crowd noise rarely heard in Stags’ history.

The men put together a couple first half runs to earn some breathing room. A stingy defense managed to deter Sagehen shots, and frustrated their ball movement, leading to a number of turnovers. The Sagehens looked out of sync, but had plenty of fight. Going into the locker rooms, the Stags held a 10-point lead at halftime.

In the second, the Stags managed to buck their painful trend of losing halftime leads. The men traded minor offensive runs with the ‘Hens, but never saw their lead slim to less than 6 points. A break in the action due to a lighting failure allowed for the P-P and CMS faithful to square off. Led by David Regalado (CMC ’09), the CMS fans all but willed their Stags to the SCIAC Tournament title with a 56-44 win.

The Stags used another balance effort to beat the Sagehens. Chris Blees recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 11 and grabbing 10 boards. Jason Toney showed great poise, running the offense with 14 points and making key free throws down the stretch. Tejas Gala provided pop off the bench, netting 9, and Conner Faught added 10.

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