The Oglethorpe men's basketball team is set to tip off their 2019-20 season Saturday from Dorough Field House, as they look to follow up on a fourth-place finish in the SAA in 2018-19 and continue their streak of finishing in the top half of the league standings every year of the conference's existence.
The Stormy Petrels return four players that started 10 or more games in the 2018 season, led by defending All-SAA honorable mention forward Will Koch. The junior frontcourt standout finished fifth in the league in free-throw percentage with a mark of 75.4 percent, and came in fourth in defensive rebounding with 5.5 per game. He also finished in the league's top 10 in rebounding (6.1 per game) and scoring (12.3 points per game) in 2018-19.
He'll be joined by junior point guard Lane Foster, and sophomore shooting guards Carlos Sone and Ryan Jenei. Foster averaged 8.4 points per game while passing out 4.0 assists and swiping 2.0 steals per contest. Sone and Jenei each averaged just under eight points per game (7.8 for Jenei, 7.3 for Sone) while shooting around 40 percent from three-point range (41.6 for Jenei, 39.4 for Sone).
Oglethorpe also returns junior swingman Justin Hughes, who playing in the first five games of the year before seeing his season end due to injury. Sophomore forward Toju Etiwe saw solid minutes off the bench in 2018-19, and he'll return as well, along with sophomore guard Trevor Gulley, junior guard David Swillum and junior guard Sam Schneidmiller.
That group will be joined by eight newcomers, including junior transfers Demetri Chambers and Josh Cammon, both of whom played for Bridgewater (Virginia) last year. The squad will see an influx of six freshmen, with guards CJ Riley, Justin Day, Jack Murrah and Tyler Krivitzkin joining forwards Uba Ezigbo and David Fischer on the squad.
The Oglethorpe non-conference schedule is highlighted by a crosstown trip to visit preseason No. 6 Emory Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. They'll host Warren Wilson Saturday at 1 p.m. to tip off the season, then head up to Berry's Vikings Tipoff Tournament for games against Bob Jones and Warren Wilson again Nov. 16 and 17. After facing off against Emory, they'll then head up to Tennessee for Maryville's Thanksgiving Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. They'll play the host Scots and Johnson while there, then take on in-state opponent Piedmont from Demorest on Dec. 3.
The Petrels host the West Palm Beach Tournament in Florida at Oxbridge Academy Dec. 20 and 21. They'll take on Goucher in the opener on the 20th, then face either Geneva or Merchant Marine in their second game the following day. After Christmas, the Petrels return to Dorough Field House to host their annual Holiday Inn Express Classic Dec. 29 and 30. They'll take on St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) and Brevard at that event.
Oglethorpe opens SAA play at home on Dec. 7, when they take on in-state rival Berry. They're also home at the start of the new year, as they host Hendrix and Rhodes on Jan. 3 and 5, respectively. They'll travel the following weekend to go against defending SAA champion Sewanee and Centre, then return home Jan. 17 and 19 for battles with Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern, respectively. The Petrels will host Sewanee and Centre on Feb. 7 and 9, their final home weekend of the season.
The Petrels look to get their season off on the right foot Saturday afternoon against Warren Wilson at Dorough Field House.