March 5, 2010

Courtesy of Chapman Athletics

ORANGE, Calif. -  A three-point play by junior Griffin Ramme with 1:05 remaining in the game sealed the Chapman University men's basketball team's 58-47 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships at the Hutton Sports Center.

The bucket and free throw by Ramme gave Chapman a 54-47 lead, the largest lead of the game by either team to that point. Ramme finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and hit several key shots for the Panthers. Similar to the early-season matchup which Claremont won 57-56, the teams traded leads for the entire game with eight ties and 11 lead-changes.

Chapman (24-2) began the second half with a 30-27 advantage, but Claremont (21-7) quickly jumped ahead, taking a 31-30 lead on a layup by senior G Jason Toney. The Stags held the lead for the next eight minutes until junior F Jon Consani put the Panthers back on top 41-40 with a layup. Consani finished with six points on the night.

Claremont sophomore F Joseph Anderson who finished with a team-high 12 points gave the Stags a 44-42 advantage with 8:03 remaining in the second half which is the last lead they would have. Chapman's defense then took over as they held the Stags without a field goal for the next six minutes.

"Chapman's got a good defense, they knew a few of our weaknesses and they played really well," said Claremont head coach Ken Scalmanini.

The nation's No.3 defense held the Stags to 28 percent shooting in the second half and 37 percent overall. They also limited two-time SCIAC Player of the Year Chris Blees to seven points on 2-of-13 shooting for the game.

"Our defense kept us in the whole game," said Ramme. That was one of the best defensive efforts we have had in a long time."

The game began with Claremont jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead. Chapman then answered with an 8-0 run of its own to take an 8-6 advantage. The first half remained close for the duration as neither team could build a lead larger than five points. With the score tied at 27, Ramme hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Panthers the 30-27 advantage at halftime. Senior G Kyle Wood kept the Panthers close in the first half by scoring 12 of his 16 points.

The Panthers now head to Spokane, Washington for a matchup against No. 4 Whitworth University (25-2) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Chapman and Whitworth played last season with the Pirates winning 62-47 in a neutral site game.