The Oglethorpe men's basketball team endured a fight at the hands of the homestanding Millsaps Majors Friday night in Jackson, Miss., but came away victorious in the end, 56-53. The result improves the team to 13-3 overall, 4-1 in SAA play.
The Stormy Petrels built a 12-point advantage over the course of the first half, leading 36-24 at the break. However, the team had to hang on in the second half as they were only able to manage 20 points over the course of the period. However, after briefly falling behind midway through the second half, they were able to right themselves and build a six-point lead with seven minutes remaining. From there, they got some defensive stops when they needed them down the stretch and were able to hang on for the three-point win.
The Petrels shot 40.8 percent from the field over the course of the contest, including a 27.8 percent mark from three-point range. They converted on 73.3 percent of their free-throw tries. On the other hand, Millsaps shot 45.7 percent from the field, 27.8 percent from long range, and 60 percent from the free-throw line. The Petrels outrebounded the Majors, 30-28, and forced one more turnover than Millsaps did. The Petrels did outscore Millsaps 21-12 off turnovers, but the Majors returned the favor with an 11-2 margin in second-chance points.
Individually, the Petrels were led by junior guard Drew Patrick, who recorded a double-double on the night. He scored 12 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, going 4-for-8 from the field and making a pair of steals. Senior guard Alex Davis scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting with two assists and two steals, while freshman Chase Wardlaw contributed 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting, 1-of-2 from three-point range, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
The Petrels fell behind 5-0 in the early-going, but embarked on a 7-2 spurt to tie the game. Then, they went on their big run of the contest, a 13-3 stretch that allowed them to build a 20-10 lead with 10:03 remaining in the opening half. The Majors cut that spread down to five points, but the Petrels closed the half on a 12-5 run to pull into their largest lead of the game, 36-24, as the two teams went to the locker room for halftime.
In the second period, Millsaps quickly went to work. They cut the Oglethorpe lead back down to five with three straight baskets. This was part of a larger run, though, that saw the Majors surge into the lead, 43-41, with 9:20 remaining. From halftime up until that point, Millsaps outscored the Petrels 19-5. Oglethorpe was quickly able to restore order, however, going on an 8-0 run over the next 1:30 of game time to retake a six-point lead, 51-45, with 7:09 left. From there, the two teams went back and forth for the remainder of the contest with Millsaps getting as close as two points, 55-53, with five seconds left. The Petrels were able to hold on from there, though, picking up their 13th win of the season.
"We're very happy to get another road win," said Head Coach Philip Ponder. "Truth be told, we didn't really play that well, but credit Millsaps for a lot of that. They defended us well and forced us into some missed shots. This is always a tough place to play, though, so we're happy to move on with the victory and get ready for Birmingham-Southern on Sunday."
That game on Sunday will take place in Birmingham, Ala., where the homestanding Panthers are very difficult to beat. The game is scheduled to tip off at approximately 4 p.m. Eastern.