LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- For a second consecutive season, the Covenant men's basketball team finished with a winning record. The Scots, under first-year head coach Arte Culver, ended the season with a 14-12 overall record, and 7-7 in USA South play.
The winning record marked just the second time in program history that Covenant has had consecutive winning seasons. The Scots won their first two home games, finishing 9-3 overall at Barnes PE Center. The final home game of the season came in a win over Piedmont to clinch a spot in the USA South tournament.
The Scots played three nationally-ranked teams, including top 10 teams Whitworth (No. 7) and Whitman (No. 4), and in the first home game defeated Emory (No. 15).
Covenant had three players average over 10 points per game: Patjo Twagirayezu, Berto Dryden, and Z Arima. Freshman Caleb Haynes earned USA South Rookie of the Week honors three times, and Twagirayezu earned All-Conference honors, being named to the All-USA South second-team. Arima was Covenant's representative on the All-Sportsmanship team.
GAME OF THE YEAR:
The last time that the Covenant men's basketball team played Emory was in the NCAA Division III Tournament on March 4, 2016. The Scots lost 76-51, ending their historic season. This season, the Scots came back with a vengeance, facing nationally-ranked Emory in their first home game of the season.
After leading for most of the first half, Emory gave up the lead after a Berto Dryden 3-pointer put the Scots ahead 23-22. The Scots ended the half up 36-32.
Covenant kept the lead in the second half, but three consecutive 3-pointers from Emory in the final two minutes made it a close game. Then another Emory trey cut Covenant's lead to one point with 20 seconds left.
A Bailey Spragg free throw brought the lead to two points at 72-70 with 16 seconds left. Dryden took matters into his own hands at that point and swiped the ball from an Emory guard, finishing with a fastbreak layup that gave the Scots a two-possession lead which they held on to for the final few seconds in a 74-70 victory.
Dryden led the team in scoring with 19 points, and three players had eight rebounds. Senior Will Portlock had four assists. The Scots also scored 42 points in the paint compared to Emory's 20.
Patjo Twagirayezu - 2nd team
All-USA South Sportsmanship
USA South Player of the Week
Patjo Twagirayezu - Nov. 27, 2016
USA South Rookie of the Week
Caleb Haynes - Jan. 2, 2017; Jan. 9, 2017; Feb. 13. 2017
USA South Team Sportsmanship Award
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