The Oglethorpe men's basketball team got an outstanding 34-point performance from junior guard Justin Edwards Saturday evening, as he finished 11 for 15 from the field and 12 for 15 from the free throw line en route to his career high in points. However, it wasn't enough, as the Stormy Petrels fell to Maryville (Tennessee), 92-80, on the first day of the Oglethorpe Thanksgiving Classic at Dorough Field House. The result dropped them to 2-3 on the young season.
The Petrels outshot the visiting Scots 49-to-44 percent from the field overall and 26-to-24 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. However, Maryville went a perfect 15 for 15 from the line while Oglethorpe shot 67 percent. In addition, the Scots outrebounded the Petrels 46-33, including 20-9 on the offensive glass.
Senior guard Connor Smith scored 12 points for the Petrels on 3 for 9 from beyond the arc, while junior guard Chris Lawrence and sophomore center Tom Inungu finished with 11 each. Lawrence went 3 for 8 from 3-point range while Inungu tallied a 5 for 6 night from the field.
The Scots used seven consecutive points to build a 9-3 lead in the early-going, but the Petrels responded with a big run of their own. Back-to-back Lawrence 3-pointers tied the game and put Oglethorpe off on a 16-2 run over the next 4:30, giving them a 19-11 lead with 10:31 remaining in the first half. Maryville answered with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the Oglethorpe lead to one, though, and after a brief period of trading baskets, the Scots continued on that run for the remainder of the period. They finished the first half on a 22-5 run over the final 7:52, building a 42-30 advantage at the break.
The Petrels did not go down without a fight, though, and they got off to a very good start in the second half. They used a 19-6 run over the period's opening seven minutes to come all the way back and take a 49-48 lead with 13:08 to go. After a brief stretch where the two teams traded baskets, though, the Scots responded with the run that turned the game in their favor for good. They embarked on a 14-4 stretch over the next 3:20 to retake the lead, 69-59, with 6:43 to go. After Oglethorpe cut the lead back to six, Maryville went back out again with a 9-1 spurt to build their advantage to 78-64 with 4:20 remaining. The Petrels were able to get their deficit down to seven with 3:04 left, but they would get no closer.
"The difference in the game tonight was rebounding," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We outshot them 49-to 44 percent, but they attempted 18 more shots than us because they got 20 offensive rebounds. You aren't going to beat a good team giving them that many second chances. We finished the first half poorly to put ourselves in a hole. I liked the way we battled back from being down 12 at the half to taking the lead around the 10-minute mark, but we just couldn't get stops the last 10 minutes. We haven't really found an offensive rhythm yet, either. We have a lot of areas we still need to improve on, but I still like the upside of this team. We just have to bounce back and get ready for an extremely athletic LaGrange squad tomorrow."
The Petrels will take on the Panthers at 4 p.m. from Dorough Field House on Day 2 of the Oglethorpe Thanksgiving Classic. LaGrange beat No. 15 Emory in Saturday's opener. Emory goes against Maryville in the first game of the day Sunday at 2 p.m.