The Oglethorpe men's basketball team won a defensive struggle Friday evening at Dorough Field House, defeating the visiting Trinity (Texas) Tigers 60-55. The win over their former conference rivals -- the two teams were both members of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference until 2012 -- propelled the Stormy Petrels to 3-3 on the young season and snapped their three-game losing streak.
The two teams were knotted up 43-43 at the 8:35 mark of the second half, but Oglethorpe turned the game into their favor with a 12-0 run over the next 4:30, building a 55-43 advantage with 4:05 to play. Trinity went on an 8-1 run over a 3:50 stretch to put themselves back in it, down 56-51 at the 2:15 mark. The Petrels were able to pull away from there, though, hitting 4 of 6 free throws over the final couple of minutes to secure the five-point win.
Before the 12-0 run, the game had been a back-and-forth affair. The lead changed hands 14 times and there were 11 ties over the opening 32 minutes of the contest. The Tigers' largest lead was four points, an advantage they took after a five-point run midway through the first half. The Petrels led by as many as three in the first and took a 29-28 lead to the locker room after freshman guard Ryan Jenei sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Petrels got 14 points and 12 rebounds from junior forward Will Koch in the victory. The Oglethorpe frontcourt man also led the team with five assists. He sank 2 of 5 three-pointers and both of his free throws. Senior center Tom Inungu added 12 points while accruing four blocks. Jenei tied Koch for the team lead with 14 points. He went 4-for-11 from 3-point range and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.
Oglethorpe held Trinity to just 31.3 percent from the field overall and 2-of-16 from 3-point range. Oglethorpe didn't shoot at a fantastic clip, either, but they did convert on 40.4 percent of their field-goal attempts and nine of their 25 three-point tries.
"I really liked our defensive intensity tonight," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "Our offense is still not clicking on all cylinders, but our defense is keeping us in games and won it for us tonight. It was good to get back in the win column."
The Petrels have a quick turnaround as they'll return to Dorough Field House at 4 p.m. Saturday to take on Boyce. After that, they'll head to Mount Berry, Georgia, for their SAA opener against Berry on Friday, Dec. 7.