The Oglethorpe men's basketball team got their season off on the right foot in Philadelphia's Equinox Classic, defeating co-host Swarthmore, 88-82, in overtime on the latter's home floor in Swarthmore, Pa.
The Stormy Petrels were in trouble, down as much as 60-53 with 7:23 remaining in the ball game. They fought their way back and tied the game, 62-62, when junior center Jordan Kinney capped a 9-2 run with a pair of free throws with 4:31 remaining. However, the home-standing Garnet pushed the lead back out to four points with 3:37 left, and had it at five points with 3:09 left. The Petrels whittled the lead down to a single point with 2:38 left after sophomore forward Victor Rohlfs hit back-to-back shots. Swarthmore came back with a three-pointer, which gave the home side a four-point lead with 2:11 left, but junior guard Alex Davis answered with a basket of his own to bring the lead back down to two, 71-69, with 1:59 remaining. Then, with 26 seconds remaining, sophomore guard Drew Patrick hit a game-tying layup after grabbing a defensive rebound on the other end of the floor. The game was tied, 71-71, at the end of regulation.
In the overtime period, the Petrels fell behind 75-73, but they finished with a flourish, outscoring the Garnet 14-5 over a three-minute stretch. Rohlfs hit the big three-pointer that put the Petrels in the driver's seat, extending their lead to seven, 82-75, with 1:04 remaining, capping a 9-0 mini-run in the midst of the larger run. From there, the Petrels hit their free throws and put the game away.
Oglethorpe had actually found themselves with a lead early in the second half. With the halftime score 34-32 in favor of the visitors, the team went on a 7-0 run early in the half to push their lead out to seven, 45-38, with 14:03 remaining. It was a 15-3 Garnet run over a three-minute period that put the Petrels in a seven-point hole.
In the first half, Swarthmore surged to a 7-1 lead before the Petrels surged back to tie it at 7-apiece. Then, the Petrels slowly built a lead, getting it as high as nine points, 24-15, with 9:26 remaining in the period. Swarthmore slowly cut the lead down over the remainder of the half, getting it down to 34-32 at the halftime buzzer. Senior guard Tyler Courson was on fire in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the period. This included a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range.
The Petrels outshot the Garnet 48.1 percent to 40.3, and shot 42.1 percent from beyond the three-point arc. The Petrels were outrebounded 48-30, but forced 16 turnovers and committed only seven.
Courson led all scorers with 26 points, shooting 8-of-12 from the field overall, 4-of-6 from beyond-the-arc and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. The effort marks a career high in points for him. Rohlfs also enjoyed a breakout game, scoring 21 points of his own on 7-of-11 shooting and 3-of-6 from behind the arc. Davis and Patrick added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Petrels now move across town to Haverford, Pa., where they'll take on Haverford, the other co-host of the Equinox Classic, at 3 p.m. Saturday.