The Oglethorpe men's basketball team finished the regular season on a high note Sunday afternoon, defeating Millsaps 71-65 in the regular season finale at Dorough Field House.
In a tightly contested game, the Petrels outfought the visiting Majors down the stretch to secure the victory.
In the first half, the Petrels jumped out to a 15-8 lead with 14:38 left, but Millsaps answered with a big 21-9 run over the next seven minutes. Suddenly, with 7:05 left in the half, Millsaps held a five-point lead, 29-24.
The Petrels mounted a comeback to close the half, though. They went on a 12-2 run of their own. They took the lead back with 2:09 remaining in the half and would not relinquish it for the rest of the game. When the run ended, they led by five, 36-31, with 40 seconds left in the half. They led 36-33 at halftime.
The second half continued much like the first half, with runs back and forth and the game remaining close throughout. After the Majors cut the lead back to a point with 16:20 left, Oglethorpe went on an 11-2 run, pushing the lead out to 10 points, 55-45.
The game threatened to get away from Millsaps, but they mounted yet another rally to get right back into the game. They outscored the Petrels 17-6 over the next seven minutes and again cut the lead all the way back to a single point, 62-61, with 4:20 remaining.
The Petrels came on strong at the end to close the game out, though, outscoring Millsaps 6-0 over the next 3:30 to take a seven-point lead within the final minute. From there, the Majors cut the lead back to three points with 30 seconds to go, but the Petrels hit the free throws necessary to put the game away.
The Petrels outshot the Majors 52 percent to 39 over the course of the game, including a 44 percent mark from three-point range. Millsaps stayed in the game by forcing 16 Petrel turnovers and committing only nine themselves. Also, Millsaps attempted 64 shots to Oglethorpe's 46, so though Oglethorpe shot a far better percentage, the Majors actually made one more shot than did the Petrels.
Senior Christian Molinet had a big day in his final home game, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 2-of-3 three-point shooting. His third and final assist broke the school's single-season assist record. It was his 130th assist of the season, breaking the previous record of 129 held by Oglethorpe Hall-of-Famer Tom Seitz since the 1979-80 season.
Sophomore center Jordan Kinney also had a big game for the Petrels, scoring 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and sophomore guard Alex Davis had 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting. His 6-of-7 mark from the free-throw stripe proved vital down the stretch.
With the win, the Petrels finish the regular season 16-9, 8-6 in SAA play. It marks the fifth season out of the last six that the Petrels have finished with 15 wins or more. Centre is the only other SAA team to have accomplished this feat.
The Petrels finish in fourth place in the league based on a tiebreaker with Sewanee, who finishes fifth. Due to their victory in Memphis this afternoon, Centre claims the No. 1 seed for the SAA Tournament, and will host the event. The Petrels face off against No. 5 seed Sewanee Friday in the tournament quarterfinals at 3 p.m.