Men's Basketball Suffers Tough Loss to Hendrix in SAA Semifinals

Men's Basketball Suffers Tough Loss to Hendrix in SAA Semifinals

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team saw their season come to a close Saturday evening at Alumni Gym in Danville, Kentucky, as they fell to the seventh-seeded Hendrix Warrirors 69-65 in the semifinals of the SAA Tournament. The result meant that the third-seeded Stormy Petrels finished the season at 15-12 overall.

The Petrels got a standout performance from junior forward Will Perry, who scored a team-high 28 points on 4-of-9 from 3-point range and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. Junior center Tom Inungu scored 13 points on 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Justin Hughes nine points on 2-of-5 from 3-point range.

Oglethorpe shot 43 percent from the field overall and 35 percent from 3-point range, both marks that outdid Hendrix in those categories. The Petrels were undone by Hendrix's Preston Smith, however, as the Warrior guard scored 30 points on 7-of-13 from 3-point range.

The Petrels trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, finding themselves down 47-36 with 17:03 to play. Oglethorpe responded, however, going on a 20-3 run over a 5:15 stretch that appeared to turn the game on its head. When it was over, Oglethorpe head a 56-50 lead with 8:45 remaining. Hendrix fought back, though, scoring six straight points to make it 56-56 with 7:20 remaining. The two teams went back and forth from there, but the Warriors went ahead for good with a Smith 3-pointer at the 2:17 mark, taking a 64-62 lead. They extended their advantage to 67-62 with nine seconds on the clock, Oglethorpe freshman guard Lane Foster converted a 3-point play with six seconds remaining, keeping Oglethorpe alive at 67-65. Hendrix made a couple of free throws at the other end, though, sealing the victory.

After Oglethorpe jumped out to an 11-5 lead at the outset, Hendrix took over the first half of play, going on a 22-9 run over the next 6:30 to take a 27-20 lead with 11 minutes to go in the period. The Petrels cut it to a 3-point game with five minutes left until halftime, making it 27-24. However, a 12-5 spurt from the Warriors to end the half put them ahead 39-29 late in the period and 41-32 at the break.

"Tonight just wasn't our night," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "They came out on fire to take an early lead. We made a great run in the second half, but they just made more plays than us in the final three minutes. We are disappointed to see the season end, as we really felt like we had a great shot to win the tourney. It's tough to say goodbye to our two seniors, Connor and Chris. They just had great careers and were both pleasures to coach."