Rebounding, Defense Lead Way for Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team defeated the Oglethorpe University Stormy Petrels Wednesday night by a score of 83-69. With the win, the team improved their record to 6-2 on the season.

“We continue to improve,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said. “This was a strong defense effort. Offensively, it took a little bit to get started, but we got into a rhythm in the second half. We controlled the game for 40 minutes, which is good to see.”

The Eagles were led by junior forward Jake Davis and senior guard Alex Greven. Davis scored a season-high 26 points and Greven contributed 23, and both pulled down eight rebounds.

“[Davis and Greven] are a foundation for us,” Zimmerman said. “They are consistent — every game we know what we are going to get. They did not force anything last night and still combined for 49 points and 16 rebounds.”

Davis converted 10 of his 15 field goal attempts and every one of his free throw opportunities, and his 26 points mark his sixth straight game scoring double-figure points. Greven knocked down five three-pointers, a career high, and additionally, he was eight for eight from the free-throw line.

“My teammates did a great job getting into gaps of the zone and finding me on kick-outs,” Greven wrote in an email to the Wheel. “We did a great job moving the ball, and I was able to knock some shots down.”

In addition to the scoring provided by Greven and Davis, the Eagles were propelled to victory by dominating the rebounding contest. Michael Friedberg contributed eight rebounds to tie Davis and Greven for the team lead, and five players pulled down at least five.

“[Rebounding is] absolutely crucial,” Greven wrote. “We did a great job as a team with everybody going to the boards and getting to their spots.”

From the floor, the Eagles shot 41.9 percent, as compared to Oglethorpe’s mark of 35.4 percent. Defensively, this is the fourth time the Eagles have held their opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.

“We did a great job on defense,” Greven wrote. “We need to continue to do this and just make sure we keep our energy high and stay focused in every game.”

The Eagles dominated the first period and went into the locker room at halftime with a 38-23 lead. They held Oglethorpe to just 28.6 percent shooting and forced 11 turnovers.

After Greven opened the night’s scoring with a three-pointer, the Eagles held the lead for the entire night. However, at the 10:21 mark the score stood at 13-12. At this point, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run, propelled by two more Greven threes, and by 6:44, they held a comfortable 21-12 advantage.

A little over a minute later, with the score standing at 23-16, the Eagles went on another run. Coming off the bench, senior guard Nash Oh scored eight consecutive points to bring the score to 31-16. Oh went on to score 12 points in 14 minutes, a career high.

“We have been working on having everybody ready to come off the bench to help us win off the bench,” Zimmerman said. “People are giving us good minutes off the bench, and we want to continue to build our repertoire and find the right situations to let certain guys use their strengths.”

Davis led the way for the Eagles in the second half, shooting six of nine from the floor and three for three from the free-throw line to contribute 16 points. Throughout the second half, the Stormy Petrels never brought the score to within seven. With 6:17 remaining, the Eagles were safely in control of the game, holding a 69-49 lead.

“We had tremendous energy both out on the court and on the bench. Everybody who came in gave great minutes. That will be important moving forward,” Greven wrote.

The Eagles will return to the court Saturday when they host Piedmont College.

— By Bennett Ostdiek