RALEIGH, N.C. -- It was quite an exciting night of basketball inside the Hermann Center on the campus of William Peace on Friday. After the Covenant women's basketball team secured a triple-overtime victory, the men's team had a dramatic end of its own.
Will Portlock drained a fadeaway jumper as time expired to lift the Covenant men's basketball team to a 79-77 victory over host William Peace in USA South action.
The win is Covenant's third straight in league play and moves the Scots to 8-6 overall and 3-1 in the USA South. William Peace falls to 6-9 on the year and 1-3 in league play.
Portlock's jumper came just moments after the host Pacers tied the contest on Nate Strother's driving layup with 14 seconds remaining. On the winning possession, Portlock received the ball in the post and backed down his defender before rising up for a fadeaway. The ball swished through the net just as the buzzer sounded.
Portlock finished with 13 points, while Bailey Spragg scored a career-high 17 points to go with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. TJ Cox fouled out of the game late in the second half, but still scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Berto Dryden tallied 11 points and five rebounds and Chris Boyd reached double figures for a second consecutive game with 10 points.
After a tight first 10 minutes of the first half, Covenant opened up a double digit lead late in the period. The Scots ran off a 10-0 scoring run, capped by a Ben Phelps jumper with 5:45 left in the half, to grab a 25-19 lead. Covenant then pushed the lead to 10 at 33-23 after a pair of Dryden free throws. The lead was cut to eight at 35-27 entering halftime.
The Scots held a comfortable lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half before William Peace rallied. A Cox layup gave Covenant a 59-49 lead with 10:45 left, but the Pacers went on a 17-2 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to take a 66-61 lead with eight minutes left.
Covenant rallied for a 69-66 lead after Spragg hit a 3-pointer with 6:24 left, but the teams would go back and forth from that point on. A Spragg layup off a Dryden assist with 1:11 left gave the Scots a slim 77-75 lead. William Peace then tied the score on Strother's driving layup before Portlock hit the game-winner.
Covenant shot 55.4 percent (31-of-56) from the field and wetn a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line. William Peace was hurt by its free throw effort as the Pacers went just 10-of-19. The Pacers shot 46.2 percent (30-of-65) for the game with seven 3s and a 36-26 rebounding edge.
Chris Thomas led William Peace with 14 points, while Dakota King added 13 points. Jalen Vince and Dakota King scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Covenant will travel to North Carolina Wesleyan on Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip-off in Rocky Mount, N.C.
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