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Men's Basketball Loses Defensive Battle to Maryville, 52-45

Colton McGriff (photo credit: Anna Dove/Sports Information)
Colton McGriff (photo credit: Anna Dove/Sports Information)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team and visiting Maryville combined to shoot 33 percent from the field, but it was the visiting Scots that came away with a 52-45 USA South victory over Covenant on Wednesday night inside Barnes PE Center.

The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for Covenant (6-14, 5-6 USA South), while Maryville (10-10, 5-4 USA South) picks up its second straight victory.

In a game reminiscent of a contest between the two schools in the 2012-13 season, both teams suffered through dry spells from the field. In January 2013, Maryville defeated Covenant 48-47. 

Covenant took a 19-18 lead at halftime on Wednesday after Will Portlock split a pair of free throws with one second left in the period. The teams went back-and-forth in the opening 20 minutes with neither side leading by more than three points. Maryville turned the ball over 17 times in the half and shot 32 percent from the field, while Covenant had 11 giveaways and connected on 30.4 percent.

Maryville warmed up in the second half and grabbed the lead for good with 12:33 remaining after a Calvin Songster 3-pointer made it 34-31. Covenant went nearly 13 minutes without a made field goal in the period before Colton McGriff snapped the cold streak with a layup at the 3:15 mark that cut the Maryville lead to 45-37.

Covenant would get to within 49-43 after a TJ Cox 3-pointer with 1:54 left, but the host Scots could get no closer.

McGriff led Covenant with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting and collected four rebounds. Cox tallied seven points, four rebounds and two assists, while Portlock had four points, three assists and three steals. Teron Ferguson, making his second straight start, produced seven points, three rebounds and three steals. Covenant finished the game shooting 30.6 percent (15-of-49) but did go 13-of-15 from the free throw line.

Spencer Shoffner led all scorers with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and Jaumonee Byrd added 12 points and seven rebounds. Oscar Butler registered six points, eight rebounds and three steals. Maryville held a 42-29 rebounding edge, but shot 34.7 percent (17-of-49) from the floor. Maryville went 7-of-24 from 3-point land, but five of those came in the second half.

Covenant will be off until next Tuesday when they host Berry for a non-conference matchup. Tip-off at Barnes PE Center is set for 7 p.m.

Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on and on social media at FacebookTwitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information.