Needing a jolt to get back to the .500 mark, the men's basketball team won back-to-back games for the first time since November by knocking off Dallas on Friday night 76-65. The Petrels built up a 15 point second half cushion before the Crusaders rallied to cut the lead to four. Oglethorpe closed the game out with a flourish, however, to move to 8-9 on the season.
Playing with poise, the Petrels steadily built up a lead on the Crusaders throughout the first half to head into the locker room with a 45-35 advantage. Andrew Steioff, Alec Pitts and Sam Purdy combined to score 35 of those 45 first half points while Christian Molinet played maestro in dishing 7 assists. The Petrels were 15-of-30 from the floor in the opening stanza and their hot shooting from Georgetown, Texas on Sunday seemed to travel with them.
Celebrating Tie-Dye night with some old school music, the good shooting vibrations carried over into the early stages of the second half as the Petrels used a lethal flurry to open up the aforementioned 15 point margin. Up 45-37, Oglethorpe scored 12 points in the next 4 minutes of clock time to push the margin to 57-42 with 15:02 to play. The spurt began with a baseline jumper from Steioff and featured 8 points from Pitts, 6 of which came via long-distance bombs.
Suddenly, though, the Petrels went cold and, over the next 12:30, Oglethorpe only scored 5 points as Dallas crawled within 62-58 with 4:04 remaining. Despite giving the Crusaders a chance at redemption, Oglethorpe managed to slam the door shut with some solid plays down the stretch. Steioff buried two free throws to lift the lead back to 6 and then played good defense with four fouls to bother a shot and corral the rebound. On the other end, Branden Jovaag stuck the knife in with a three-ball from the wing before Molinet added the kill-shot moments later with his own three to make the score 70-58 with just 1:43 left.
The Petrels were 25-of-53 (47%) from the field for the game and outrebounded Dallas 42-32. Oglethorpe also converted 18-of-19 (95%) free throws on the night to keep the Crusaders at arm's length.
Steioff finished with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with a team-high 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Pitts scored 19 and chased down 8 rebounds while Purdy added 12 points on just 7 field goal attempts. Molinet flirted with a triple-double, scoring 10, dishing 8 assists and grabbing 8 boards.
At 8-9, Oglethorpe will try to get back even on Sunday when they face Austin at 2:00 p.m. on Pinholster Court.