Men's basketball falls to Manhattanville in Buchanan Classic championship game

Men's basketball falls to Manhattanville in Buchanan Classic championship game

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team was outscored 44-34 in the second half by the homestanding Manhattanville Valiants on Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the AJ Buchanan Classic. It allowed Manhattanville to pull to an 82-73 victory, handing the Stormy Petrels their first loss of the season.

Senior forward Will Perry had a momentous day in the loss. With his final basket of the game at the 6:26 mark of the second half, Perry became the 31st player in program history to pass 1,000 points for his career. He also earned all-tournament honors for his efforts over the weekend. He followed up a double double on Friday with a 16-point performance on Saturday. He remains at No. 31 on the all-time school leaderboard as he sits at 1,001 career points, six behind Geoff Spiess for 30th place all-time. 

His milestone-surpassing basket cut a Manhattanville lead to 69-64, and the Petrels cut it to 69-66 less than a minute later. The two teams traded baskets, then senior center Tom Inungu sank a layup to pull Oglethorpe to within a point, 72-71, with 4:26 left. From there, however, the Valiants finished the game on a 10-1 run to pull away for the win.

Things started well for the Petrels, who took a 6-0 lead and extended that run to 13-3 over the opening four minutes. Manhattanville quickly cut it to 13-8 and got as close as 22-18 with 10:46 on the clock, but the Petrels answered with an 8-0 run to jump to a 30-18 advantage with 9:20 left until halftime. After a period of trading baskets, Oglethorpe still led by 12 points, 39-27, with three minutes remaining in the first half. The Valiants closed the period on an 11-0 run, though, cutting the Oglethorpe lead to just 39-28 at the break.

Oglethorpe jumped back to a six-point lead to start the second half, scoring on consecutive baskets to extend their advantage to 44-38. They extended it as far as 49-40 a couple minutes later, going on a 10-1 run in all to open the half. However, three straight Manhattanville baskets made the large lead short-lived and made it a one-point game again. They pulled ahead for the first time with 11:37 left, taking a 55-53 lead. The teams went back and forth for several minutes after that, but the Valiants extended their lead to 69-62 with three straight baskets around the seven-minute mark.

Senior center Tom Inungu recorded a double double on the day, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also sank 5 of 6 free throws. Freshman guard Ryan Jenei scored 13 points on 4-of-7 from the field overall and 3-of-5 from long distance, adding four steals.

The Petrels shot 40.3 percent to Manhattanville's 49.2. The Valiants also shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range to Oglethorpe's 36.4.

"We had them on the ropes in the first half," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder, "but we let them back in by not closing out the half well. We did gain control in the second half, but they just flat outplayed us over the final 15 minutes. We will continue to try and get better as we've got a gauntlet of great teams coming up on our schedule.

"Congrats to Will on a great achievement. Obviously, he would have preferred to reach this milestone in a win, but he still has a lot of points and win ahead of him."

The Petrels will now break for Thanksgiving before heading across town for the Emory Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. They'll take on Randolph-Macon on Saturday and No. 22 Maryville (Tennessee) on Sunday, both at 4 p.m.

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