The Oglethorpe men's basketball team saw the visiting Bridgewater (Virginia) Eagles outscore them 46-33 in the second half Sunday afternoon at Dorough Field House, leading to a 77-70 loss for the home side on the final day of the Comfort Inn and Suites Holiday Classic. The Stormy Petrels fell to 6-6 on the year as they head into SAA play for the remainder of the regular season.
The Petrels played well in the first half, leading by as many as 14 points over the course of the opening period. They went on a 13-3 run over a 5:30 stretch early in the game and took a 15-5 lead at the 12:40 mark of the first. Seven straight points by the Petrels around the middle of the period pushed them to a 24-10 advantage with 9:15 left until halftime. They still led by 14 at the 6:10 mark, but Bridgewater rattled off seven straight to cut the lead in half with just under five minutes left in the period. Oglethorpe vaulted back into a 13-point lead with six straight of their own, but the Eagles finished with seven straight to end the half, including a last-second steal and 55-foot heave at the buzzer, to cut the Petrel advantage to 37-31 at the break.
Bridgewater extended the run to 12 straight points to start the second half and began the period on an 8-2 run to tie the score at 39-39 with 17:15 remaining. The home side responded with back-to-back baskets to move back into a four-point lead and still held that advantage with 12:25 left. However, the Eagles scored seven straight and extended that run to 15-5 over 3:30 to take a 58-52 lead with just under eight minutes on the clock. Oglethorpe fought back with five straight to tie it with just over six minutes left but Bridgewater soon went back ahead and never relinquished the lead. A 14-5 Eagle run gave the visitors a 72-63 lead with just over a minute to go and put the Petrels behind the eight-ball. They never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Sophomore guard Lane Foster enjoyed one of the best games of his young career, scoring 21 points on 6-of-8 from the field overall and 2-of-2 from 3-point range. He also passed out four assists. Sophomore forward Will Koch scored 17 points on 7-of-12 from the field.
Senior forward Will Perry earned a spot on the all-classic team and scored nine points while recording three assists and three steals. He also tallied a double double in Saturday evening's win over Ozarks (Arkansas).
The Petrels shot 42.9 percent from the field and held Bridgewater to just 37.7 percent, but the Eagles outshot Oglethorpe 70.4-to-55.6 percent from the free-throw line and committed just eight turnovers to the Petrels' 16. The visitors won the second-half rebounding battle 26-16 and outscored the home side 21-7 off the bench.
"We played about as well as we've played all year for the first 18 minutes," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder, "but we let them gain some life in the last two minutes of the first half. Missed free throws and the inability to keep Bridgewater off the offensive glass killed us in the second half. They're the most athletic team we've seen all year, though, and we've played a tough non-conference schedule. Hopefully those difficult games have prepared us for the conference schedule ahead."
The Petrels get the main part of their SAA slate started on Friday with a trip to Alabama to take on Birmingham-Southern at approximately 9 p.m. Eastern. After that, they'll continue west to Jackson, Mississippi, for a Sunday showdown against Millsaps at 4 p.m.