The Oglethorpe men's basketball team came out of the gate a bit sluggish Sunday afternoon at Dorough Field House, but outscored the visiting Millsaps Majors 74-47 over the final 29 minutes of the game to cruise to a 90-72 victory in the end. The victory improved the Stormy Petrels to 9-15 on the season overall and 6-7 in SAA play, moving them into a 3-way tie for fifth place in the league.
The Petrels shot 55 percent from the field over the course of the game, which included a 55 percent mark from long distance. They also converted on 80 percent of their free throw attempts. Millsaps started out hot, but eventually fell to 40 percent for the game, including a 36 percent mark on threes and a 65 percent mark on free throw attempts. The Petrels dominated the Majors on the glass, outrebounding them 42-26 on the afternoon. They also outscored the visitors 30-20 in the paint and 23-11 off the bench.
Junior guard Justin Edwards and senior forward Drew Patrick both had one of their best games of the season on Sunday. Edwards poured in 27 points on 8-of-14 from the field, passing out 4 assists in the process, while Patrick tallied 25 points on 8-of-14, also converting on 5 of 8 three-point attempts and 4 of 5 free throw attempts. He recorded 3 assists, as well. Sophomore center Tom Inungu had another strong game in the paint, putting up a double-double. He scored 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line, while grabbing 11 boards.
Though the teams largely traded baskets to start with, the Majors used a 10-2 run to build a 15-8 advantage with 14:51 left in the opening half of play. They eventually got that advantage up to nine points a couple of times, leading 23-14 at the 11:40 mark and 25-16 with 8:52 left in the period. However, the Petrels began their run from there, outscoring Millsaps 23-5 over a 6:30 stretch to build a 9-point lead of their own, 39-30, with 2:28 remaining until halftime.
The Majors cut it back to six at halftime, and got it as close as a 1-point game, 47-46, early in the second half, but the Petrels never let them grab the lead. From that point, they went on a 13-5 run to build their lead back up to eight points, 60-51, with 13 minutes to go. The Majors cut it back to a 5-point margin, 62-57, with 9:54 left, but Oglethorpe responded with a 13-4 stretch to push their advantage up to 75-61 with six minutes remaining.
The Majors never got it back to a single-digit margin after that. They cut it to 10 a couple times, but Oglethorpe used a 12-2 run to put the game away from there.
"I thought we came out a little sluggish, but from about midway through the first half, we really picked up the intensity," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "This was one of our best rebounding games of the season, and we shot the ball really well. We've won three in a row and are playing our best ball of the season right now. We have a big game Saturday versus Berry that could have important implications in terms of seeding for the conference tournament. We need a good week of practice and to continue building on the way we've been playing of late."
The Petrels will host the Vikings on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Dorough Field House. It will be a busy day for the program, as Saturday will serve as Senior Day, as well as the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Oglethorpe basketball. A victory would ensure them no worse than a fifth-place tie in the league standings.