The Oglethorpe men's basketball team found itself in a thrilling back-and-forth contest Sunday afternoon against the Rhodes Lynx at Dorough Field House, but it was Rhodes who came away with the victory in the end, outlasting the Stormy Petrels 101-98 in a game that featured 13 ties and 18 lead changes. The defeat dropped the Petrels to 14-8 overall and 8-3 in SAA play, putting them in second place in the league. The Petrels fell a game behind Centre with the loss, as the Colonels came back to defeat Millsaps Sunday afternoon in Jackson, Mississippi.
The game featured 57 total fouls and 74 total free throws for the contest. The Lynx committed 39 personal fouls over the course of the game, while the Petrels took 52 free throws, making 35 of them for a conversion rate of 67 percent. The Petrels shot 50 percent for the game while Rhodes converted at a 48 percent rate, but the Lynx hit 43 percent of their 3-pointers while the Petrels sank just 25 percent. Rhodes played 16 players while the Petrels played seven, resulting in a 50-24 discrepancy in bench points. The Petrels outscored Rhodes 30-13 off the fast break.
Rhodes built as much as a 13-point lead in the first half, outscoring Oglethorpe 39-26 over the opening 13 minutes of the contest to build a 29-26 lead. The home side responded with a 20-9 stretch over the remaining seven minutes of the half to get back to within a couple points, 48-46, at the halftime break.
The Petrels turned the tables in the second half, taking a lead of their own over the opening part of the period. They outscored Rhodes 16-6 over a 5-minute stretch to build a 7-point lead of their own, 64-57, with 13:45 remaining in the contest. The Lynx responded, though, and had the game tied at 64-64 with 12:45 left. From that point, the two teams went back and forth for the remainder of the game. Down the stretch, the teams traded baskets and the lead multiple times. The Lynx hit a 3-pointer with under 10 seconds to go, though, taking a 101-98 lead. The Petrels had a chance at the other end, but a 3-pointer by freshman guard Lane Foster fell off the rim at the buzzer, and Rhodes preserved the victory.
For the game, junior forward Will Perry led the Petrels with a season-high 31 points, grabbing six rebounds and recording two steals. Junior center Tom Inungu scored 21 points on 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. He grabbed 11 rebounds, as well.
"It was an ugly game, but that's the way Rhodes plays," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We were one play away from winning, but instead we have a bitter taste in our mouth. I thought we actually did a good job against their pressure in general. But we gave up a few too many offensive rebounds that they kicked out for threes, and they shot it really well today. We've been winning all the close games, but we had two opportunities to get stops in the last minute today, and couldn't do it. We've got some tough games coming up, so we have to regroup and get ready for the stretch run."
The Petrels will now hit the road for the remainder of the SAA slate. They'll travel to Tennessee to take on Sewanee Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern, then continue to Danville, Kentucky, for a battle with Centre Sunday at 3 p.m. They'll finish their conference schedule the following weekend with a trip to northwest Georgia to take on Berry.