DEMOREST, Ga. -- For the second straight night, the Covenant men's basketball team had an opportunity to come away with a victory but ultimately fell just short. Host Piedmont came away with a narrow 78-74 win over the Scots on Thursday night inside Cave Arena.
The last two nights, Covenant has lost twice but only by a combined seven points. The Scots drop to 8-16 overall and 3-10 in the USA South. Piedmont moves to 9-15 on the year and 4-10 in league play.
Much like last night, four players scored in double figures for Covenant led by Colton McGriff's 14 points. McGriff was joined in double figures by Teron Ferguson with 12 points along with Chris Boyd and Daniel Garrett with 11 apiece. Will Portlock had one of his best games of the season with eight points, six rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers.
Covenant got out to a 7-2 lead in the early minutes of the first half capped by a Boyd jumper. The host Lions rallied and took a 26-20 lead on a pair of Peyton Luken free throws with 8:19 left in the half. The Scots would rattle off a 9-0 scoring run that was finished off with a Portlock jumper with 3:43 left in the period. Covenant went into the break with a 37-36 lead after Ferguson converted a layup with a few seconds left before halftime.
In the second half, Covenant trailed by eight with 8:31 remaining, but would again make a push. Garrett and Robby Bell made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and Boyd followed with a jumper to tie the game at 57 with seven minutes left.
After Piedmont regained the lead, Covenant responded with a quick 6-0 scoing spurt that was completed by a Ferguson 3-pointer that gave the Scots a 65-64 lead with 4:24 left. The teams traded baskets for the next few possessions before Piedmont's Trae Gaines made a layup that gave the Lions a 69-68 lead with 2:52 remaining. Piedmont would go up by five at 74-69 and the Scots managed to cut it to 76-74 late, but the Lions made free throws to seal the win.
Covenant shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the field and made six 3-pointers, while holding a 35-34 rebounding edge.
Piedmont was led by Chase England's 16 points. Luken and Safari Smith had 13 points each in the win. The Lions connected on 48.9 percent (23-of-47) from the floor and 8-of-14 from behind the 3-point line.
Covenant will end its season on Saturday when they host LaGrange. Tip-off in Barnes Physical Education Center is set for 4 p.m.