The Oglethorpe men's basketball team hung tough against the No. 6 Emory Eagles for much of the game Saturday afternoon in Atlanta at Emory's Woodruff Physical Education Center, but poor shooting sunk the visitors in an 84-60 loss. The defeat dropped the Stormy Petrels to 2-2 on the season.
The Petrels converted on just 27.7 percent of their overall field goal attempts and sank just 5 of 33 three-point shots, while Emory converted on 47 percent of their shots and 42.3 percent of their attempts from distance. Oglethorpe played solid defense while holding the Eagles below 50 percent from the field, held their own on the boards (only getting outrebounded 46-35), and took care of the basketball with just nine turnovers. They just couldn't stay in the game shooting under 30 percent from the field.
Junior guard Dimetri Chambers had an excellent game in the loss, scoring 20 points and hitting 8 of 11 free throw attempts. Junior forward Will Koch followed up his SAA-record 21 rebounds in the Nov. 16 win over Warren Wilson with 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Junior guard Lane Foster added 9 points and a team-high four assists.
The Petrels got off to an excellent start, outscoring the Eagles 7-2 over the opening 4:20 of the game. Emory bounced back with 5 straight to tie it, but Oglethorpe remained in the game for much of the opening half. They took a 14-12 lead on a Chambers 3-pointer with 11:48 left until the break, then went back ahead 18-15 on a layup by junior guard Sam Schneidmiller with just over 10 minutes left. Emory took the lead back both times, but freshman guard Justin Day made a pair of free throws to put his team up 20-18 at the 8:14 mark. It served as the final lead Oglethorpe would enjoy, though, as the home side embarked on a 21-3 run over a 7-minute stretch to turn the game upside down and take a 39-23 lead with just over a minute left in the first half. They went into the break up 39-26.
Oglethorpe stayed within arm's length of Emory most of the second half, cutting the Eagle deficit to just 11 points several times. They were unable to get any closer than that, though, and the home side pulled away late to turn it into a 24-point victory.
"This may sound strange, but I thought this was our best game so far this season despite it being our worst result," said Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "I liked our energy, and I thought we defended and rebounded well, and we had our fewest turnovers of the season. So there were some positives to take away from this. If we just shoot the ball at a halfway decent clip, it's a completely different game. We continue to be a work in progress, but I thought we got better this week in practice and today."
The Petrels will be back in action over Thanksgiving weekend, when they head up to Tennessee to take on Maryville in that school's Thanksgiving classic Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. After that, they'll stay in Maryville on Dec. 1 to go against Johnson University-Tennessee at 2 p.m.