Stormy Petrels blitz Ozarks in second half, pull away 71-54 to open Comfort Inn and Suites Holiday Classic

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The Oglethorpe men's basketball team outscored the visiting Ozarks (Arkansas) Eagles 42-26 in the second half Saturday evening at Dorough Field House, leading to a 71-54 win to open the Comfort Inn and Suites Holiday Classic. The victory improved the Stormy Petrels to 6-5 on the season.

The Petrels responded from an early seven-point deficit to come back to take a 29-28 lead at the halftime break. However, Ozarks stayed in the game over the early part of the second period. The two teams traded baskets for awhile, then the Eagles scored four straight points to push out to a 38-34 advantage with 15:40 remaining.

Oglethorpe started their game-breaking run at that point, though. They outscored the visitors 35-11 over a 14-minutes span to push out to a 69-49 lead, their largest of the game, with just 1:30 left.

The Eagles scored the opening four points of the game. The two teams traded baskets for awhile after that, but Ozarks used a 9-1 run over four minutes to build a 20-13 edge at the 7:20 mark of the first half. The seven-point lead served as their largest of the game. The Petrels quickly responded with an 8-1 run tied it up 21-21 with just under five minutes left until halftime. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the half with the Petrels entering the locker room ahead by a point.

Senior forward Will Perry led the Petrels on the day, scoring 19 points on 4-of-7 from 3-point range and grabbing 14 rebounds. Senior forward Zach Breathwaite played extremely well off the bench, scoring 16 on 7-of-9 from the field overall and a perfect 2-of-2 from long distance. Sophomore forward Will Koch added 12 points and six boards.

The Petrels shot 42.9 percent from the field for the game, including 9-of-24 from 3-point range, while holding Ozarks to 35 percent from the field and 3-of-17 from long distance. Oglethorpe forced 17 turnovers while committing just nine themselves.

Oglethorpe will return to Dorough Field House on Sunday to take on Bridgewater (Virginia) in the final game of the Comfort Inn and Suites Holiday Classic. The Bridgewater Eagles fell to Sewanee in a hard-fought battle in Saturday's final game, losing 79-76 in a contest that went down to the final possession.