The indications of a Petrels’ third straight win were visible from the opening tip, thanks to the hot shooting of freshman Connor Smith, who scored a game-high 21 points in the 81-74 victory.
“It was a big win because that guarantees we finish ahead of them in the conference tournament seeding,” Oglethorpe men’s coach Philip Ponder said.
Smith nailed his team’s first and second 3-pointers to build an early lead Oglethorpe would never lose and two more shots from deep to help extend the margin to 13 points in the first half.
“He’s a great shooter,” Ponder said. “He was our sixth man until one of our best players, Drew Patrick, broke his wrist.”
Early in the second half, Smith nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 13 after the Stormy Petrels led by just six at the break. But the Lynx would continue to remain a nuisance the rest of the half and become a true threat with less than two minutes left when Drew Miller’s 3-pointer resulted in a 72-66 score.
Fortunately, Oglethorpe would just match Rhodes in the scoring department the rest of the way to hold on.
“They are a good squad,” Ponder said. “They got a lot of shooters. They kept making shots late. They just never go away but we did enough to close it out.”
Senior Tyler Courson had 15 points and Alex Davis added 14 and six assists. Miller led Rhodes with 19 points and Geoff Livsey scored 16.
The Petrels return to action on the road Friday against Birmingham Southern.
“We’re fighting for a spot in the national tournament,” Ponder said. “We’re kind of on the bubble right now so every game is important. Since Birmingham Southern has been in the league, we haven’t won there yet so we have our work cut out for us Friday.”
Alana Bentley scored 13 points and Ciara Hughes added 12 in the Lady Petrels’ 80-54 shortcoming to Rhodes, which was led in scoring by Lauren Avant who had 30 points.