Men's Basketball Gets Big Bounce-Back Win over Birmingham-Southern, Maintains First Place in SAA

Men's Basketball Gets Big Bounce-Back Win over Birmingham-Southern, Maintains First Place in SAA

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team played well throughout in a 100-90 win over Birmingham-Southern Sunday afternoon at Dorough Field House. Bouncing back from a loss to Millsaps on Friday, the Stormy Petrels shot 47 percent from the field over the course of the game and sank 36 percent of their 3-point attempts while making 77 percent of their free throws. With the victory, the Petrels improved to 13-7 on the season overall and 7-2 in SAA play, allowing them to maintain a 3-way tie for first place with Centre and Sewanee.

The Petrels got outstanding performances from a couple of players on the day. Junior center Tom Inungu recorded a double-double, scoring 21 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. He went 9-for-12 from the field and also recorded four blocks. Junior forward Will Perry led the team with 24 points on 11-of-19 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He grabbed nine boards and passed out four assists. Senior guard Chris Lawrence scored 13 on 3-of-8 from distance and 2-of-2 from the line, while sophomore guard Justin Hughes added 18 points on 6-for-14 from 3-point range.

The game did not start especially well for the Petrels, as Birmingham-Southern ran out to an 11-2 advantage over the opening 2:30 of the contest. That would serve as their largest lead, but the Petrels still had forward Harrison Deneka to contend with, as he accumulated 15 points on 3-of-4 from long distance over the opening 5:30 of the game. He hit a jump shot to give the Panthers a 21-12 advantage with 14:26 left in the opening half and finished with 37 points for the contest.

However, Oglethorpe quickly fought back. They embarked on an 18-9 run over the next 5:20 to push their way back into a tie game, 30-30, with 8:23 left in the opening half of play. The Panthers nudged back out to a 5-point edge, but the Petrels finished the half on a 15-5 run over the final 5:30 to turn the tables and take a 49-44 lead into the break.

The home side was able to keep an arm's length advantage throughout most of the second half, and never gave up the lead. After boosting out to a 10-point lead two minutes in, Birmingham-Southern came back with a 9-2 run to cut the Oglethorpe advantage to just three, 58-55, with 14:49 left. However, the Petrels quickly went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:15 to extend their advantage back out to 11 points, 66-55. The Petrels built their lead to as large as 14 points, 86-72, with 5:22 remaining. From there, the Panthers were never able to get closer than seven points. They did so with two minutes left in the contest, but the Petrels put the game away from the free throw line.

For the game, the Petrels outscored Birmingham-Southern 10-0 off turnovers, 22-12 in second chance points and 17-5 off the fast break.

"It was great to come back with an outstanding performance after the game on Friday," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We talked some things out in practice yesterday, and I told the guys to just put that game behind them and get back to doing what we had been doing the last few weeks. I thought we did that today. We bounced back with what might have been our best game of the season, and I'm really proud of the guys."

The Petrels will be back in action on Friday night, when they welcome Hendrix to Dorough Field House at 8 p.m. It will be a rematch of a game the Petrels won 84-74 in Conway, Arkansas, on Jan. 5. After that, Oglethorpe will welcome high-scoring Rhodes to Dorough for the final home game of the regular season Sunday at 3 p.m.