ATLANTA, Ga. - The Oglethorpe men's basketball team might have faced the toughest team they'll face all season Tuesday night at crosstown-rival Emory, and they did so without their starting center, Jordan Kinney, who missed the game with an ankle injury. The Stormy Petrels stayed with the 15th-ranked Eagles for most of the game, but Emory pulled away in the end, 104-77, as Oglethorpe had difficulty stopping them down the stretch.
The Petrels got solid performances from several players, with sophomore guard Connor Smith scoring 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 6-of-6 from the line, sophomore Romello Bates adding 14 points on 10-of-16 from the line, and redshirt freshman Chris Lawrence dropping 10 points and leading the team with seven rebounds. However, the Petrels felt Kinney's absense all night long, with Emory forward Alex Foster scoring 38 points and grabbing 16 rebounds on the night. In addition, the Eagles outrebounded the Petrels 51-33 on the night, including 17-8 on the offensive glass.
For the game, the Petrels shot 40.4 percent while Emory converted at a 51.9 percent rate. Oglethorpe had difficulty getting in a groove from three-point range, as well, converting on 28.6 pecent from beyond the arc to Emory's 42.4 percent.
The game started with the two teams trading baskets. Oglethorpe took its only lead of the game, 13-11, with 13:20 remaining in the game, but Emory took the lead back and started pushing it out a bit. They went on a 37-19 stretch from the point where Oglethopre took the lead, highlighted by an 11-3 run at one point, to take an 18-point lead, 38-40, with 3:05 remaining in the half. The Petrels were able to cut the lead down a bit going into the halftime break with a 6-2 run and trailed 50-36 after one half of play.
In the second, Oglethorpe stayed in the game for awhile. They got the Emory lead down as far as 11 points, 56-45, with 16:33 to play. That capped off a stretch of play where the Petrels outscored the Eagles, 15-8, going back to the previous period. However, whenever Oglethorpe got to within arm's length, Emory was able to push it back out again by making a couple baskets. The two teams traded baskets for several minutes and Oglethorpe trailed, 76-63, with 7:52 left. However, Emory ended the game on a 28-14 run from that point.
"We lost the game on the defensive end of the court," said Head Coach Philip Ponder. "Not having Jordan was a major factor, as we couldn't stop Foster from scoring. Tonight, Emory was at their best and we were not. They have size, speed and shooting. It's early in the season and we've got a cross-country road trip coming up, so I'm anxious to see how we bounce back out west."
The Petrels, now at 2-1 on the season, will embark on a weekend trip to Tacoma, Wash., where they'll take part in the Doug McArthur Classic. They'll face Pacific Lutheran in a neutral-site game at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, then take on hosts Puget Sound at 11 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. After that, they'll have three more games away from the friendly confines of Dorough Field House before returning home on Dec. 4, with a road game at Covenent next Tuesday followed by two neutral-site games against LaGrange and Maryville (Tenn.) back at Emory over Thanksgiving weekend.