The Oglethorpe men's basketball team used a 65 percent shooting performance in the second half Thursday at the Daytona Beach Shootout in Florida to pull away from the Concordia (Wisconsin) Falcons 82-69 at Daytona Beach's Ocean Center. The result improved the Stormy Petrels to 5-4 on the season, and served as a bounce back from their defeat to Lawrence on Wednesday.
After a first half in which the Stormy Petrels shot 43 percent from the field, they responded in a big way in the second half, converting on over 60 percent of their overall shots and sinking seven of their 13 three-point attempts. That allowed them to come back from a 13-point deficit midway through the opening period and a 36-32 deficit at the break and outscore Concordia 50-33 in the second half.
Junior forward Will Perry led the Petrels with 28 points on 12-of-18 from the floor and 3-of-6 from three-point range. He also grabbed eight rebounds and recorded four steals. Senior guard Chris Lawrence scored 21 points overall and 17 in the second half. He finished 8-for-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Freshman forward Will Koch picked up his first start of the season and delivered a game-high 10 rebounds. He also scored eight points on 3-of-5 from the field. Senior guard Connor Smith scored 19 points on 5-of-11 from three-point range and made a couple steals.
The Falcons went on a big run early, scoring 11 straight points over a two-minute stretch to take a 16-5 lead with 16:02 remaining in the opening period. They eventually extended that out to a 13-point advantage, 24-11, with 9:16 left until halftime.
Oglethorpe responded with a 17-point run of their own over the next four minutes, though, turning the game around and giving themselves a 28-24 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the half. The game of back-and-forth runs continued as Concordia ran off 10 straight to give themselves a 36-30 lead with just over a minute to go before the break. They took a 36-32 advantage into the locker room.
The two teams traded baskets over the first six minutes of the second half, with the Falcons still leading 47-42 at the 14-minute mark. That wouldn't last long, though, as the Petrels began the run that turned the game in their favor for good. They embarked on a 24-3 stretch over 6:15 to build a 66-50 advantage with 7:45 left. Concordia gave themselves a chance by cutting the lead to 11 points, 71-60, with 4:38 left, but Oglethorpe came back with consecutive baskets, including a three-pointer from Lawrence with 2:22 left that essentially put the game on ice, giving the Petrels a 76-60 lead.
"I was really proud of the way the guys bounced back after a tough loss yesterday," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We were really shorthanded today, as we are battling some injuries again, but the guys showed a lot of grit and heart today against a quality opponent. We finally got our offense going a little bit, and I hope we can carry that over after the break. Hopefully, some time off will help us get healthy and get some guys back."
The Petrels will now break for the holidays before returning to host the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Tournament at Dorough Field House Dec. 29 and 30. They'll take on Ozarks (Arkansas) at approximately 7 p.m. on the 29th, then the winner of that game will battle the winner of that day's Geneva-Manchester game for the tournament championship at approximately 4 p.m. on the 30th. The two losers from Day 1 will play in the consolation game at 2 p.m. on the 30th.