LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Sophomore Daniel Garrett wasted little time in making his presence known in his first game of the season.
Garrett scored 11 points, nine of which came in the second half, and had the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining to lift the Covenant men's basketball team to a 71-68 victory over Ferrum in the USA South opener for both teams.
The Scots improve to 6-5 overall on the year but also earned their first USA South victory in program history. Ferrum drops to 3-7 overall and 0-1 in leage play.
Garrett, who did not play in the first semester, was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field to go along with two assists and three steals in 15 minutes of action. Chris Boyd set a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting while collecting seven rebounds. Ben Phelps came off the bench and drained three 3-pointers in the first and tallied 13 points total.
Covenant trailed 67-63 late in the second half after Ferrum's Brian Clarke connected on a jumper. Two free throws from McGriff cut the deficit to two at 67-65 with 2:33 left. Moments later, Garrett made a steal and converted a tough layup to knot the score at 67 with just over two minutes remaining.
On Covenant's next possession, Garrett let fly a 3-pointer from the left corner and buried the shot giving the Scots a 70-67 edge. Covenant held a 71-68 lead with 31 seconds to go and held up defensively as Ferrum was unable to get a good look at a 3-pointer to tie the game. Clarke missed a contested 3 and Alek Ayer misfired from deep as the clock wound down.
Clarke led Ferrum with 17 points and four assists. Rashawn Speas scored 14 points with eight rebounds. Pullen, coming in averaging 22.1 points per game, was injured in the first half and did not return to to game after scoring four points in eight minutes.
Covenant shot 39.7 percent (25-of-63) from the floor and 16-of-20 from the free throw line, while holding a slight 38-35 edge in rebounding. Ferrum made 45.6 percent (26-of-57).
The first half was tightly played with neither team gaining more than a four-point advantage. Ferrum went into the break with a slim 33-31 lead.
Ferrum stretched its lead out to eight at 43-35 after a Clarke jumper with 16:02 left in the second half. Covenant eventually chipped away at the deficit and took a 56-55 lead after a Garrett layup with 7:54 remaining. From there, Ferrum would grab the lead again before Covenant came rallying back in the final minutes.
The Scots will host USA South foe Averett on Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Barnes Physical Education Center.