The Oglethorpe men's basketball team was tied with crosstown rival Emory 42-42 with 17:21 remaining Tuesday night at Dorough Field House. The visiting Eagles went on a 30-5 run over the next 6:48, however, blowing the game open en route to an 85-69 victory. The result drops the Stormy Petrels to 1-6 on the season.
Emory went on their run after what had been a tight contest for most of the first half, with the Eagles never leading by more than eight. The run also came after the Petrels used an 8-2 spurt at the outset of the second half to tie the score. The Petrels got as close as 11 with 5:17 left after a run of their own, but could get no closer.
Oglethorpe junior guard Connor Smith tied for the lead among all scorers with 20 points on 4-of-9 three-point shooting and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Justin Edwards also continued his solid play of late with a 15-point night on 4-of-6 from the field and 6-of-7 from the foul line. He passed out three assists, grabbed seven rebounds and recorded two steals, as well, leading the team in all categories on the night. Junior guard George Andino had three assists and 15 points on the evening.
With the score tied at 42-apiece early in the second half, the Eagles embarked on a 14-2 stretch over the next 3:06 to pull out to a 56-44 edge, then followed that up with a run of 16 consecutive points over a 3:01 stretch to pull out to a 25-point advantage, 72-47, with 10:33 remaining. It was their largest lead of the game.
Things did not look at all good for the Petrels, but they responded with a 17-3 run of their own over the next 4:57 and cut the Emory advantage to just 75-64 with over five minutes left, giving themselves a chance. The Eagles led by the same margin with 4:07 to go, though, and they put the game away with a 9-0 stretch over the following 2:30, pushing their lead out to 83-66 with 1:47 remaining.
Emory led most of the first half, as well, but the home side stayed in it, never letting the Eagles build a double-digit advantage. Emory started the game on a 12-6 run over the opening 4:27, but the Petrels responded with an 8-0 push and gave themselves a 14-12 lead with 12:59 left in the opening period of play. The two teams traded baskets for a five-minute stretch after that, leading to a 27-27 score line with 7:02 remaining in the half. Emory went on a 10-2 run after that, building an eight-point advantage, but the Petrels were able to cut the deficit to six points at the break, 40-34.
Emory shot 43 percent from the field to Oglethorpe's 39 percent, including 41 percent from beyond the arc to the Petrels' 26 percent and 87 percent from the foul line to the home team's 63 percent. The Eagles won the rebounding battle 44-28, including a 13-7 advantage on the offensive glass, and outscored the Petrels 11-3 off the fast break and 38-19 off the bench.
"Against Berry, we led for most of the game but had one bad stretch of three to four minutes that was the difference," said Head Coach Philip Ponder. "Tonight, we played well enough to win for about 34 minutes against a team that would be one of the best in our conference, but had a bad six-minute stretch that put the game out of reach. Emory got hot from three for a stretch, but we could have withstood that if we hadn't had a flurry of turnovers right after that. That put us too far behind in the end, but I did like the fact that we fought back and got back into the game with a run of our own. We just have to play well for 40 minutes. Three of our last four games have been against teams that would be very competitive in our league, so we've had some tough competition. I have seen enough from these guys over the last three games, though, to make me think that we are going to turn the corner soon."
The Petrels will now take a break for exams before hosting the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Tournament Dec. 20-21 at Dorough Field House. They'll take on Mount St. Vincent Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. while Regis goes against Huntingdon at 4 p.m. Then on Dec. 21, the two winners will face off in the championship game at 6 p.m., immediately preceded by the consolation game at 4 p.m.