LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Senior guard TJ Cox scored a career-high 34 points to lead four Covenant men's basketball players in double figures as the Scots outlasted visiting Birmingham Southern 96-81 on Saturday afternoon at Barnes PE Center.
Cox's impressive performance included 10-for-16 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. He also went 8-for-9 at the free throw line, while dishing out three assists in nearly 40 full minutes of action. It's the first 30-point game for a Covenant player since Colton's McGriff's 35 at Bethany Lutheran on Dec. 7, 2013.
Covenant (5-3) also received 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds from Berto Dryden. Daniel Garrett and Connor Sears came off the bench to record 12 and 10 points, respectively. Garrett chipped in six rebounds and four assists.
After falling behind 7-0 in the early minutes of the game, Cox and the Scots caught fire from the field. Covenant shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from the field in the first half with five 3-pointers, while Cox scored 16 points in the period. The Scots went into the break with a 40-38 lead.
Covenant shot even better in the second half. The Scots outscored the Panthers 56-43 in the period and connected on an even 60 percent (18-of-30) in the half while going 16-of-20 from the foul line.
An 11-3 scoring run opened up a tight game for the moment and gave the Scots a 63-51 lead after a Cox layup with 12:59 remaining. Birmingham Southern rallied to tie the score at 73 after a Harrison Deneka layup with 5:55 left, but Covenant scored the next nine points to grab an 82-73 lead with 2:34 to go. A couple more 3-pointers from Cox over the last two minutes sealed the win for the Scots.
Birmingham Southern (1-5) was led by 29 points from Deneka, while Alex Avery recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Ian Thom poured in 12 points and three assists. The Panthers shot 43.1 percent (31-of-72) from the field and held a 42-32 rebounding edge.
Patjo Twagirayezu added eight points and five rebounds for the Scots, while Chris Boyd grabbed eight rebounds to go along with his four points. Covenant shot 54.2 percent (32-of-59) for the game and 23-of-28 from the free throw line.
Covenant will have next week off for finals before returning to Barnes PE Center on Monday, Dec. 21 against North Park. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS
Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here