Men's Basketball Pulls Upset Over First-Place Centre, 77-64

For 26 minutes of game time Friday night, things were going according to plan for Centre. They were ahead 57-44 with 14:07 remaining. But OU went on a 27-4 run over the next 10:02 and turned the game on its head, eventually pulling away for a 77-64 victory in front of a raucous Dorough Field House.

The run started with the Stormy Petrels down by 13. They were still down by 12, 59-47, with 12:42 left, but they scored four straight baskets over the next 2:40 to cut the lead to just two. Junior guard Tyler Courson was huge during the early part of the run, hitting two three-pointers and getting a tip-in off a missed three-pointer, all in a three-minute span.

The Petrels finally tied the game on a free throw by sophomore guard Alex Davis. Centre converted 1-of-2 at the other end to take the lead back briefly, but the next time down the floor, Davis scored on a layup off an assist from senior guard Christian Molinet. The Petrels had a lead, 62-61, with 7:09 left. It was a lead they would not relinquish.

From that point, the run continued. The Petrels scored five straight baskets, including the Davis layup that gave them the lead, and suddenly found themselves in control of the game. They held a 10-point lead, 71-61, with 4:05 remaining.

The run finally ended when Centre converted a layup into a three-point play, cutting the lead to seven with 3;30 to go. But Oglethorpe went on another mini-run, scoring three consecutive baskets over the next 1:40 to ice the game. They held their largest lead of the game, 77-64, with 1:44 remaining after Courson scored on two straight layups to end the scoring for the game. The Petrels ran the clock out from there, securing their biggest win of the season thus far.

Centre held a 10-point lead at halftime, 41-31, and started the second half by keeping the Petrels at arm's length. Oglethorpe cut the lead to as little as six points with 17:12 left, but the Colonels embarked on an 8-0 run over the next 1:44, building a 14-point lead with 15:36 remaining. They still had their 14-point lead, 55-41, with 14:34 remaining. They were outscored 36-9 over the remainder of the game.

In the first half, Centre started out hot, getting off to a 7-0 lead. The Petrels quickly cut the deficit to two, and the two teams traded baskets over the next seven minutes or so. Oglethorpe eventually tied the game, 18-18, with 11:56 remaining in the half, but they never got a first-half lead.

From that point, the Colonels went on a 15-2 run over the next 4:22, including a run of four straight baskets, extending their lead to 13 points with 7:34 left in the half. Oglethorpe cut that lead to as little as eight points for the rest of the half, but wound up trailing by 10, 41-31, at the break.

Over the course of the game, the Petrels shot 56 percent, including a sizzling 61 percent in the second half. They still shot 50 percent in the first half, though. Meanwhile, Centre shot 45 percent for the game, but they shot 61 percent in the first half and an ice-cold 28 percent in the second, and most of those baskets came in the first six minutes of the half. After the Petrels started their run, Centre went 2-for-17, around 12 percent, the rest of the way.

The Petrels shot well from three-point range, too, converting at a 50 percent rate. Centre shot only 24 percent from beyond the arc.

Senior guard Branden Jovaag scored 14 points for the Petrels on 5-of-8 shooting, 4-of-7 three-point shooting. Off the bench, Courson also contributed 14 points with a scorching 6-of-7 shooting night, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Molinet and Davis scored 13 points apiece. Molinet did it on 6-of-11 shooting while adding six assists; Davis did it on 5-of-8 shooting with four assists.

The win improves the Petrels to 14-6 on the season, 6-3 in SAA play. That mark is good enough for fourth place in the conference. They pull within a game of Centre and Rhodes for second place and stay two games ahead of Sewanee for fifth. As fate would have it, the Petrels welcome Sewanee into Dorough tomorrow night at 8 p.m., with a chance to give themselves a stranglehold on at least fourth place in the league as the regular season comes down the stretch.

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