Men's basketball blows out Birmingham-Southern in return to SAA play

Men's basketball blows out Birmingham-Southern in return to SAA play

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team went back over .500 on the season and evened their SAA record with a 91-70 victory over Birmingham-Southern Friday night in Alabama. The Stormy Petrels outscored the homestanding Panthers 49-32 in the second half to pull away for the 21-point win, and improved to 7-6 on the season with a 1-1 conference tally.

The Petrels led 42-38 at the break after trailing for most of the first half, and they came out for the second half and ran Birmingham-Southern off their home floor. A 10-0 run over the first 3:30 made it 52-38, then they embarked on a 24-10 stretch over the next seven minutes to build a 76-48 lead with 8:16 remaining. It proved to be their largest lead of the game. Birmingham-Southern fought back to within 19 late in the contest, but the game was already decided by that point.

It was the Panthers who seemingly controlled much of the first half, though, leading by as many as eight points during the period. The home side held a 21-13 lead with just under 12 minutes until the break, but the Petrels fought back to within two several times. Late in the period, the Petrels went on a 12-2 run to vault into a 37-32 lead with three minutes remaining until halftime. They never trailed again after gaining the lead at the 3:30 mark.

The Petrels shot 63.3 percent from the field in the second half and 55 percent for the game. They also sank 47.8 percent of their 3-point attempts and 77.8 percent of their free throws. Meanwhile, Birmingham-Southern shot 43.8 percent overall and was just 7-of-27 from distance. 

Senior forward Will Perry led the Petrels with 23 points on 9-of-18 from the field, while senior guard Lane Foster scored 14 on 3-of-5 from the field and 2-of-3 from distance, passing out six assists in the process. Freshman guard Ryan Jenei scored 14 points on 5-of-9 overall and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while senior center Tom Inungu added 12 on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field. He also made three steals.

"Tonight was a big win for us," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "We didn't start the game well defensively, but about midway through the first half, we started to buckle down on that end of the floor. Our offense got rolling in the second half and we were able to pull away. This was probably our best offensive game of the season so far. Road wins are like gold, so we are excited to start this road trip with a W."

The Petrels will be back in action Sunday in Jackson, Mississippi. They'll take on Millsaps at 4 p.m. EST.