Deja Vu: Men Suffer Road Heartbreak...Again
The Oglethorpe University men's basketball team lost to Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas on Friday night, 60-58. The weekend road loss in heartbreaking fashion has become an unsettling trend for the Petrels and this one was no exception as Oglethorpe missed three free throws in the final 10 seconds to agonize the defeat.
The Petrels came out flat and fell behind the Warriors 22-8 at the 12:45 mark of the first half before making two separate spurts to tighten the contest. Oglethorpe rattled off 13 straight points to bring the score to 22-21 with 8:47 to play, only to fall behind 32-23 with 4:31 showing. The Petrels rallied for the final 8 points of the half and headed into the locker room trailing 32-31.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half the lead changed hands a remarkable 11 times before Oglethorpe turned a 44-43 Warrior lead at 10:36 into a 53-46 Petrel advantage at 5:45 on the strength of a 10-2 run that was capped by a Todd Ward jumper. The Petrels led 56-50 with 3:57 play when David Allison drilled a three-pointer and Oglethorpe still boasted a 58-54 lead with only 92 seconds remaining after Ward fed Erik Strong for a basket. That's when things went south for Oglethorpe and they would never score again.
The Warriors cut the lead to 58-56 with 1:10 to play on a Nick Heathscott jumper and Joe Kennedy was whistled on the following trip for an offensive foul to give Hendrix the ball back with 44 ticks left. The Petrels forced a Heathscott miss only to have Ward spotted for a travelling violation on the rebound with 25 seconds on the clock. After a Hendrix timeout, Heathsoctt converted a basket and collected a foul from Ward and calmly sunk his free throw to suddenly give Hendrix a 59-58 lead with only 21 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession Erik Strong was fouled with only 7 ticks left but both his free throw attempts missed. The Petrels then fouled the Warriors - who missed a one-and-one of their own - and then inexplicably fouled a driving Tyler Cerone with only 4 seconds left giving the Petrels a shot to take the lead again. Cerone's one-and-one also came off the rim, however, and the Petrels road woes continued.
Oglethorpe lost late leads at Centre College in overtime 59-58 on January 8th and to Southwestern the following weekend, 60-57. Against Hendrix the Petrels only connected on 35% (23-65) of their field goal attempts and 50% (6-12) of their chances at the charity stripe, all of which came in the decisive second half.
Ward led Oglethorpe with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Strong posted 10 points and 9 boards in the loss. David Allison added 11 points on the night.
The Petrels are now 11-7 on the season and 6-4 in the SCAC. They face Millsaps in Jackson this Sunday at 3:00 p.m.