Men's basketball rides big first half to 67-60 win over Sewanee

Men's basketball rides big first half to 67-60 win over Sewanee

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team bounced back from Friday's loss to Centre in a large way Sunday afternoon, running out to a 16-point lead in the first half and holding on down the stretch for a 67-60 upset win over the previously 13-2 Sewanee Tigers at Dorough Field House. The victory moved the Stormy Petrels back to .500 at 8-8 on the year while inching them to a 2-3 mark in SAA play.

The Petrels got off to an outstanding start, giving up a basket 30 seconds into the game but not allowing another one until the 7:50 mark of the first half. They went on a 12-2 run to take an 8-point lead with 13:30 left until halftime, then answered four straight Sewanee free throws with a 14-2 run over the next 6:40 to build a 26-10 lead, their largest of the game, with just under six minutes to go in the period. The Tigers responded with seven straight to cut their deficit to nine late in the half, as they made five of their final six shots from the field in the first period after sinking only two of their first 17. However, the Petrels pushed their advantage back out to 15 with a minute left in the period and led 35-23 at the break.

It seemed likely that Sewanee would make a run at some point, and they did just that early in the second half. They cut the Oglethorpe lead to just two, 37-35, with a 12-2 run to start the half. The run was keyed by Luke Smith, who accounted for the entire stretch by sinking four 3-pointers and finished with 31 points on the day. The Petrels responded with five straight, though, and pushed Sewanee back to arm's length. The Tigers never got as close as two points again, but they hung around as the two teams traded baskets for much of the period. Oglethorpe extended their lead to 12 points, 64-52, with just over five minutes left, but the visitors came back with a quick 8-0 run to make it 64-60 with 1:45 on the clock. They wouldn't score the remainder of the game, though, and senior center Tom Inungu put it away with 13 seconds to go when he sank a pair of free throws to make it the final seven-point margin.

The Petrels shot 53.1 percent from the field and held Sewanee to just 37.7 percent. Oglethorpe outrebounded the Tigers 39-25 and outscored them 11-0 in second chance points. The home side also outscored their opponent 40-22 in the paint.

Inungu led the way with 19 points on 8-of-10 from the field, collecting five blocks in the process. Senior forward Will Perry garnered a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Will Koch added 17 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.

"That was a great win for us today," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We played our worst game of the year on Friday night, so we talked yesterday about today being a gut-check game and I thought the guys responded tremendously. I loved our energy and effort. If we play with that same level of intensity, we can do some really good things moving forward."

The Petrels will be back in action on Friday, when they travel to Memphis, Tennessee, for a 9 p.m. EST battle with Rhodes. After that, they'll continue to Conway, Arkansas, to go against Hendrix Sunday at 4 p.m.