The Oglethorpe men's basketball team completed their season-opening road trip with a 3-0 record Thursday night, defeating defending United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II national champion Warren Wilson, 63-50, in Asheville, N.C.
The two teams traded baskets for the first 12 minutes of the game, but the Stormy Petrels would never again trail after falling behind the home-standing Owls, 12-11, with 8:49 remaining in the first half. From there, the Petrels ran off a 16-3 stretch over the next six minutes to take control of the game, 27-15. Freshman guard Connor Smith hit three 3-pointers during the run, including two back-to-back. Warren Wilson answered with a 5-0 run of their own immediately afterward, but Oglethorpe took a 28-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Stormy Petrels played lockdown defense in the first half, holding the Owls to just 12.5 percent (3-for-24) shooting, including 1-for-11 (9.1 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Petrels shot 35.7 percent (10-for-28) and got 12 first-half points from Smith on 4-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
In the second half, Warren Wilson further cut the Oglethorpe lead, whittling it down to 35-30 with 16:15 left. However, the Petrels put the game away from there with another huge run, outscoring the Owls 18-8 over a 10-minute stretch to extend their lead to 19 points, 57-38. Warren Wilson quickly cut the lead to 14 with 3:53 remaining, but Oglethorpe pushed the lead back out to 16 with 1:50 left to close the game out from a competitive standpoint.
Sophomore guard Drew Patrick scored 12 second-half points on 5-of-7 shooting to help the Petrels finish off the Owls. He also grabbed eight rebounds in the period.
For the game, the Petrels outshot Warren Wilson 42.9 percent to 25.9, which helped them overcome a poor night at the free-throw line, where they shot only 46.2 percent to the Owls' 77.3. The Petrels also outshot their opponents 31-to-13 percent from beyond the arc.
Patrick finished as Oglethorpe's leading scorer with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. Smith finished with the 12 points he accrued in the first half, while senior guard Tyler Courson also scored in double figures with 10 points.
The 3-0 Petrels will return home on Saturday to take on Toccoa Falls in their home opener at Dorough Field House. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. The team will then welcome Covenant in on Tuesday before setting out for LaGrange, Ga., for the LaGrange Classic on Thanksgiving weekend.