Men's basketball drops tight decision to Sewanee, 60-57

Men's basketball drops tight decision to Sewanee, 60-57

The Oglethorpe men's basketball team suffered a tough 60-57 loss to Sewanee Sunday afternoon in Tennessee, losing a six-point lead with six minutes to go after coming back from 11 points down in the first half. The loss dropped the Stormy Petrels to 13-11 on the season overall and 7-6 in SAA play.

The Petrels led by six points with six minutes remaining, but the homestanding Tigers outscored them 16-7 over the remainder of the game. They cut it to a one-point game with five minutes to go, but Oglethorpe was able to hold onto a tenuous lead over the next few minutes. With the Petrels up 54-51 and just under four minutes remaining, though, Sewanee scored seven straight points. They took a 55-54 lead with 2:55 left, then hit a 3-pointer at the two-minute mark to extend their advantage to 58-54. 

After a couple of missed opportunities by the Petrels, sophomore forward Will Koch kept them in the game with a 3-pointer of his own with just 13 seconds left. The Tigers made a pair of free throws with five seconds left to make it 60-57. Oglethorpe still had a chance, but an offensive foul on the other end snuffed out their last opportunity.

Sewanee led 30-26 at the break, but Oglethorpe set about turning that scoreline around early in the second half. They jumped into a 33-32 lead on a Koch jump shot with 16 minutes left. Sewanee nudged back ahead 37-35 a minute later, but the Petrels used a 13-5 stretch to build a 48-42 lead, their largest of the game to that point, with just over eight minutes remaining.

The Tigers pulled out to an 18-9 lead with 9:40 left in the first half. The Petrels came back to make it 18-14 with just under six minutes remaining in the opening half, but the home side ran off seven consecutive points to notch their largest lead of the game, 25-14, with 4:40 left until halftime. The visitors came back to pull to within four points at the break, though.

The Petrels shot just 38.9 percent from the field overall, 36.4 percent from 3-point range, and 46.7 percent from the line. Meanwhile, Sewanee converted at a 44.7-percent rate from the field and 86.7 percent from the charity stripe. Oglethorpe outscored Sewanee 21-8 off turnovers, but it wasn't enough to overcome the disparity at the line.

Koch led Oglethorpe with 7-of-14 from the field overall, recording seven rebounds on the day. Seniors Will Perry and Tom Inungu added nine rebounds each.

"Today was a tough one, and I felt like we let this game slip away," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "I liked our intensity, but we missed some shots we normally make and really struggled at the free-throw line. We also had a couple of mental mistakes that cost us in such a close game. It was a tough weekend, but we are looking forward to finishing the regular season at home and making a run in the tournament."

The Petrels head home to Dorough Field House to host Berry Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will serve as Senior Night for the men's basketball program. After that, they'll head back up to Danville, Kentucky, for the SAA tournament Feb. 22-24.