The Oglethorpe men's basketball team had a tough night Friday in Tennessee, trailing by as many as 36 points en route to an 81-46 defeat to the homestanding Sewanee Tigers. The Stormy Petrels shot just 31 percent from the field while the Tigers connected on 53 percent of their total shots and 43 percent from 3-point range. The defeat dropped the Petrels to 8-4 in SAA play and 14-9 overall, putting them in third place in the league headed into the final two games of the season.
Sewanee outrebounded the Petrels 42-29 and collected 24 assists on their 30 made baskets to Oglethorpe's five on 18 made baskets. The Petrels led by five early, taking a 7-2 lead at the 16:45 mark of the first half, but things quickly started swinging Sewanee's way after that. A 24-3 run over the next 7:30 vaulted the Tigers into a 16-point lead, 26-10, with 7:08 remaining in the first half. Three consecutive baskets allowed Oglethorpe to cut the Sewanee lead to eight, but that's as close as they would get. The home team rebuilt a 39-25 lead at the break.
The Tigers continued to extend their lead in the second half. After points on consecutive trips to start the second period for the Petrels, Sewanee embarked on an 18-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a 57-32 lead and complete control of the contest with 12:25 to go. The home side continued to expand their lead from there en route to an 81-46 victory.
The Petrels were led on the day by senior guard Connor Smith, who scored 12 points on 2-of-6 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line, grabbing six rebounds and recording two steals in the process. Freshman forward Will Koch scored nine points on 4-of-8 from the field while junior forward Will Perry added seven points and a couple of assists.
"This game just kind of snowballed on us," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder, "and we couldn't stop the momentum. They may have the best defense in the league, and we struggled to get things going offensively. They are not a great shooting team, but they went through a stretch where they didn't miss, and that stretch buried us. This team has done a great job this year bouncing back from losses, so that's what we'll look to do on Sunday."
The Petrels will travel to Danville, Kentucky, to take on Centre Sunday at 3 p.m. The Petrels currently sit in third place, two games back of first-place Centre in the SAA standings with two games to play, and Sewanee positioned between the two in second place.