The Oglethorpe men's basketball team closed out its regular season with a 69-58 defeat against the in-state rival Berry Vikings Saturday night in Mount Berry, dropping the team to 14-11 overall and 8-6 in SAA play to finish the campaign. It did not affect their seeding in the upcoming SAA Tournament, though, as the Stormy Petrels were locked into the No. 3 seed entering Saturday night's contest. The Petrels will travel to Danville, Kentucky, for the 3-day event, which will run Feb. 23 through 25.
Neither team shot the ball well on Saturday, with the Petrels shooting 37 percent and the Vikings coming in at 38 percent. However, the home side enjoyed a 54-37 rebounding edge, including a 16-5 advantage on the offensive glass. They outscored Oglethorpe 15-6 off turnovers, 15-6 in second chance points, 46-24 in the paint and 33-7 off the bench.
The Petrels began the game with a 4-0 lead three minutes in, but Berry responded and the two teams went back and forth for much of the first half. The Vikings built a 19-14 lead with 5:25 left in the period, though, and extended that to 21-14 with four minutes to go. A couple successful trips brought Oglethorpe back to within three, 21-18, with 3:15 remaining until the break. They trailed 25-22 at the 56-second mark, but Berry finished the half on a 5-0 spurt to take a 30-22 lead into halftime.
As the second half began, the home side began extending their lead. They nudged the advantage out to 35-22 early, then went on another minirun to make it 44-30 with 14:40 remaining. Oglethorpe cut the Berry advantage to 10 points a couple times, but the Vikings put the game away with a 14-5 run over a 5-minute stretch. That gave them a 64-45 lead with 4:15 on the clock.
Individually, the Petrels were led by junior center Tom Inungu, who scored 21 points on 10-of-15 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds, and made four blocks and two steals. Sophomore guard Justin Hughes added 14 points on 3-of-8 from 3-point range. Freshman forward Will Koch led the team with 13 rebounds.
The No. 3 seed Petrels will take on No. 6 seed Millsaps on Friday in the first round of the SAA Tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Centre, who defeated No. 2 seed Sewanee on Saturday to clinch the SAA regular season title.