Playing their second Top 20 ranked opponent in 3 days, the men's basketball team was topped by Emory University on Pinholster Court on Monday night, 60-54. The Petrels held a 30-20 advantage with 2:03 to play in the first half before a 31-6 run over 15 minutes of clock time put the visiting Eagles in control.
The Eagles took a brief first half lead at 5-3 just four minutes into the game but Oglethorpe responded with a Sam Purdy three on the ensuing possession to take the lead back. From there, the Petrels controlled most of the first half with shooting spurts that flummoxed the Eagles.
Oglethorpe used a 10-0 burst to turn a 13-13 tie into a 23-13 lead with 6:44 to play in the half. That run was highlighted by 5 Christian Molinet points and included back-to-back treys from Alec Pitts and Molinet. The Eagles whittled that lead down to four points at 23-19 with 4:12 to play in the half but Oglethorpe used another spurt, this one 7-1, to re-up the lead to 10 at 30-20 following a Tyler Cerone three-ball with 2:03 left in the half. That's when things went sour for the Petrels.
Emory scored the final 9 points of the first half, the last two on an Austin Claunch floater at the buzzer, to send the teams into the locker room with the score of 30-29. The Petrels did not shoot the ball particularly well from the field (38%) in the first half, but did nail 6-of-12 (50%) three-pointers.
The 9-0 Emory run to close the first half swelled into a 31-6 run as Oglethorpe struggled to score in the half court for the first 13 minutes of the second stanza. After the Eagles Jake Davis scored and converted a three-point play at the line with 7:13 to play in the game, the Eagles were leading 51-36. The Petrels, however, refused to die and, after a Pitts three-ball, a steal, layup and free throw from Molinet and then a Sam Purdy trey, the score was suddenly 51-45 with 5 minutes remaining.
The Eagles pushed the margin back to 9 points with 3:24 to play but, again, the Petrels rallied, getting a baseline jumper from Molinet and a free throw and jumper from Andrew Steioff to trim the lead back to 4 (56-52) with 38 seconds left. The Eagles were able to get the ball into the hands of their point guard, however, and Claunch sank four straight free throws down the stretch to ice the game for Emory.
Molinet (7-of-9 shooting) and Pitts (6-of-13 shooting) each tallied 16 points to lead the way for Oglethorpe in the loss. Steioff contributed 7 points and a team-high 11 rebounds as the Petrels fell to 3-5 on the season. Oglethorpe will look to rebound this Wednesday night when they face Covenant College on Pinholster Court at 8:00 p.m.