Men's Basketball Tops Sewanee in SAA Tournament Quarterfinals, 59-53; Advances to Play Host Centre in Semis

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team defeated Sewanee in the quarterfinal round of the SAA Tournament Friday afternoon in Danville, Ky., 59-53. The win advances them to the semifinals, where they face top-seeded host team Centre at 6 p.m. tomorrow evening.

The first half saw the Petrels fall behind like they did early in their home game with Sewanee earlier this year. However, unlike in that game, where Sewanee pulled out to a 22-3 lead, Oglethorpe stopped the bleeding at 9-2 and got right back in the game with two quick baskets, cutting the lead to 9-7. From that point, the game was on.

Oglethorpe took their first lead of the game at 12-11 with 9:46 remaining in the half. From that point, the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the period. There were a total of six ties and six lead changes in the half, and the Tigers led by one, 30-29, at the break.

In the second half, the Stormy Petrels went on a quick 6-0 run right out of the gate, giving them their largest lead of the game to that point, 37-32, with 18:02 left. Four-and-a-half minutes later, Oglethorpe still led by five, but two straight three-pointers from Sewanee gave them the lead back, 42-41, with 12:25 left.

However, with the game tied 45-45 midway through the second half, the Petrels retook the lead 47-45. They would not relinquish it again. A 15-5 run over eight minutes of play gave them a nine-point lead, 56-47, with 2:24 remaining in the game.

From there, it was a matter of hanging on, as the Tigers cut the difference to six points with 1:35 remaining. But they got no closer, and Oglethorpe came away with the 59-53 win to advance into the semifinal round.

The game featured seven ties and 11 lead changes, and was a tight game in most statistical categories. The big difference between the two sides on the day came down to shooting and getting to the free-throw line. The Petrels outshot the Tigers 44 percent to 32 percent for the game, and Sewanee shot just 28 percent in the second half to Oglethorpe's 46.

The Petrels got to the free-throw line 24 times to Sewanee's six, and though Oglethorpe shot just 46 percent from the line to the Tigers' 67, Oglethorpe made 11 free throws to Sewanee's four.

Sophomore guard Alex Davis scored 14 points on the day, while freshman guard Drew Patrick poured in 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Senior guard Branden Jovaag added 10 points, while senior guard Chirstian Molinet scored eight points and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

The win improves the Petrels to 17-9 on the season.

Oglethorpe split the season series with Centre, losing 67-57 in Danville on January 18 and winning 77-64 in Dorough Field House on February 1. That home win featured a 36-9 run from the Petrels down the stretch, turning a 14-point deficit into a 13-point victory.

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