January 22, 2014

Men's Hoops Pick Up Crucial Win at LaGrange in OT

LaGRANGE, Ga. -- Nate Frierson's layup with four seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Covenant men's basketball team to a 98-95 overtime win at LaGrange on Wednesday night in USA South action.

The victory is the second straight for the Scots (8-10, 3-4 USA South) after a five-game losing streak. Covenant is now 2-0 in overtime games this season, having beaten Berry 94-90 in extra time on December 14. LaGrange drops to 9-7 overall and 3-2 in league play.

Covenant trailed 93-90 in the extra session with under a minute to play. Will Portlock cut the deficit to 93-92 with a a short jumper with 32 seconds left. The Scots forced LaGrange into a turnover on the following possession and Frierson made a driving layup giving Covenant a 94-93 lead with 20 seconds left.

After LaGrange called timeout, the Panthers' Denzel Robinson converted a contested layup to give the hosts a slim 95-94 edge with nine seconds to go. However, Frierson had the answer as he drove to the basket once again and made a tough layup to put the Scots back in front at 95-94 with four seconds left. LaGrange turned the ball again as Daniel Garrett came up with a steal on the following possession. Garrett would be fouled and make a pair of free throws with only tenths of a second showing on the clock.

The game was sent into overtime thanks to a spectacular driving reverse layup from Ben Phelps with 1.4 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 83 apiece.

Garrett poured in a career-high 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Colton McGriff posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Robby Bell also had a career-high with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while Frierson added 11 points and six assists.

Covenant shot 54 percent (34-of-63) from the field and made a season-high 10 3-pointers on 23 attempts (43.5 percent). The Scots were also 20-of-29 from the free throw line.

LaGrange was led by Patrick Dugger's 22 points and 16 rebounds. Mark Wagner added 19 points, Dustin Baxter had 15, while Robinson and Braxton Ford tallied 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Panthers shot 37.3 percent (28-of-75) from the field and 30-of-43 from the charity stripe. LaGrange also held a 48-42 rebounding edge and a 28-15 advantage in second-chance points.

In the first half, Covenant got off to a hot start as a Garrett 3-pointer gave the Scots an 18-10 lead with 14:19 left in the period. LaGrange would come back and take a 43-42 lead at intermission following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Wagner.

The contest would go back-and-forth for much of the second half, but LaGrange gained a 73-66 lead with 6:30 left. Covenant responded with a 7-0 run capped by a pair of free throws from Portlock with under five minutes to play in regulation. The teams traded baskets until Phelps' layup near the end of regulation.

LaGrange scored the first four points of the overtime but Covenant answered back with seven straight with baskets from Frierson and McGriff and a 3-pointer from Garrett to give the Scots a 90-87 lead. The Panthers responded with six straight to go ahead 93-90 with a minute to go.

Covenant hosts rival Maryville on Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Barnes Physical Education Center. It will be Alumni Night and Chick-fil-A will be giving away free prizes including mini basketballs and chicken sandwiches and the Cow mascot will make an appearance.