Second Half Comeback Falls Short for Men's Hoops

Patjo Twagirayezu (Nina Grauley/ Sports Information)
Patjo Twagirayezu (Nina Grauley/ Sports Information)

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- A day after suffering an overtime loss, the Covenant men's basketball team fought back from a double-digit, second half deficit before falling to host North Carolina Wesleyan, 94-85, in USA South action at Everett Gym.

The loss is the second straight, and the third in the last four games, for Covenant (7-6, 3-3 USA South).

Covenant trailed by as many as 13 in the second, but pulled even at 76-76 with 4:12 remaining in the game following an 18-5 scoring run. A Bailey Spragg 3-pointer evened the score at 76-76 to cap the run. However, N.C. Wesleyan quickly regained the lead by scoring on its next two possessions and the Scots would not be able to mount another comeback.

Patjo Twagirayezu led Covenant with 17 points to go with five rebounds. Caleb Haynes had 16 points and five rebounds off the bench, while shooting 7-of-9 from the field. Spragg and James Mitchell each had 15 points, with Spragg adding five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Mitchell tallied all his points from beyond the arc as he went 5-of-13 from deep.

The Scots heavily relied on the 3-point shot, but could not get enough to fall as they finished 12-of-47 (25.5 percent). Covenant connected on 42.1 percent (32-of-76) from the field and dished out 19 assists.

Covenant held a brief lead in the first half as the Scots scored on three of their first four possessions. Back-to-back baskets from Spragg and Will Crumly gave the Scots a 7-4 edge in the first two minutes of the contest, but the host Battling Bishops went on a 9-0 run, aided by AJ Frye's conventional three-point play, to grab a 13-7 lead at the 14:51 mark. 

N.C. Wesleyan led 42-34 at the half after shooting an even 50 percent (17-of-34) from the field and 5-of-5 at the foul line. Frye had 15 of his game-high 23 points in the opening 20 minutes.

The Battling Bishops then stretched the lead to double digits over the first 10 minutes of the second half before Covenant put together its comeback attempt.

Four other players scored in double figures for N.C. Wesleyan (7-7, 5-3 USA South) after Frye's 23 points and eight rebounds. Robert Wilson had a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds and Adrian Moore added 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. Chris Braswell had 13 points and Damon McDowell 12 for the hosts. N.C. Wesleyan shot 51.5 percent (34-of-66) for the game and 19-of-24 at the line. 


Covenant returns home to Barnes PE Center on Wednesday to face Piedmont. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


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