The Oglethorpe men's basketball team dropped an SAA game for the first time this season Sunday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama, falling to homestanding Birmingham-Southern 91-80. The defeat dropped the Stormy Petrels to 12-6 on the season overall and 6-1 in SAA play.
The Petrels did enjoy a significant career accomplishment despite the defeat, as senior guard Chris Lawrence passed 1,000 career points when he hit a 3-pointer with 5:46 remaining in the game. He becomes the 30th Stormy Petrel men's basketball player to achieve the 1,000-point milestone, and the second one this season after teammate Connor Smith passed the milestone in the season-opening victory over Covenant on Nov. 15. Lawrence currently sits at 1,005 career points, two points behind Geoff Spiess for 29th place all time. Smith sits at 1,177 career points, putting him at 15th place in school history. The Oglethorpe basketball coaching staff has a couple of 1,000-point scorers, as well, with men's assistant coach Andrew Tulowitzky sitting in 18th place with 1,149 points and Alex Richey, the head women's basketball coach at Oglethorpe, sitting in 19th place at 1,147 points. Lawrence finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field overall and 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
Junior Will Perry enjoyed another solid outing for the Petrels, scoring 19 points and recording three steals. Freshman forward Will Koch added 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting overall and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. He came up with three steals, as well. Freshman guard Lane Foster scored 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field overall and 2-of-3 from distance.
The homestanding Panthers shot the ball extremely well and didn't let up over the course of the game. They converted 57 percent of their field goal attempts overall and 55 percent of their 3-point shots, sinking 17 three-pointers in all. By comparison, Oglethorpe shot 43 percent from the field overall and 33 percent from long distance. The Petrels did force 15 Birmingham-Southern turnovers and outscored the Panthers 20-0 off turnovers, but it wasn't enough to overcome the hot-shooting performance from the home side.
Birmingham-Southern slowly pushed their advantage out, building a 17-9 lead seven minutes into the game. The Petrels bounced back with an 8-2 run, cutting their deficit to 19-17 with just under 10 minutes left in the period. After a couple of miniruns back and forth, Birmingham-Southern ended the half on a 9-2 spurt to take a 46-37 advantage into the break.
In the second half, the Panthers were able to keep the Petrels at bay. Oglethorpe was unable to get closer than seven points over the final 20 minutes of the contest.
"Birmingham-Southern was just too good today," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "You have to tip your cap to a team when they bring their A-plus game. They put on an offensive show. Our defense has been winning us games, but we just couldn't get stops today. We will see them at our place next weekend, so we are looking forward to the challenge."
"I'm very proud of Chris," Ponder continued. "Scoring 1,000 career points is an outstanding accomplishment, as fewer than 30 players have been able to do that in program history. I'm happy for Chris, and look forward to coaching him the remainder of his senior season."
The Petrels will welcome Millsaps to Dorough Field House Friday at 8 p.m. After that, this same Birmingham-Southern team will venture to Atlanta Sunday at 3 p.m.