LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Coming off a tough loss on Friday, the Covenant men's basketball team responded in a big way on Saturday. The Scots led for nearly the entire game and overwhelmed visiting Methodist in an 85-57 victory over the Monarchs inside Barnes PE Center.
The victory is the sixth in the last seven games for Covenant (11-7, 6-2) and keeps the Scots atop the USA South standings with Greensboro at 6-2 after Saturday's contests. Methodist drops to 7-12 overall and 3-5 in league play.
Four players scored in double figures for the Scots led by TJ Cox's 15 points. Cox also added a team-high seven rebounds and four assists. Ben Phelps scored all 14 of his points in the first half, while Bailey Spragg contributed 12 points and four rebounds. Berto Dryden recorded 10 points, four rebounds and four assists to help the Scots to the victory.
Covenant started strong offensively in the first half as the Scots built a 19-10 lead just five-and-a-half minutes in the contest after a Chris Boyd layup. The hot shooting stretched to the 3-point line later in the half as Phelps connected on four 3-pointers over the final 10 minutes of the period to stretch the lead to double figures at 44-31 at halftime.
The lead would remain in double digits for the rest of the contest. Methodist got to within 10 after a Brandon Monk 3-pointer with 17:10 remaining made it 49-39, but Covenant would not let the visitors get any closer than that. Nick Palmer's 3-pointer with just over a minute left in the game gave Covenant its biggest lead, and the game's final margin, at 85-57.
Covenant made 11 3-pointers, marking the seventh time this year it has made 10 or more treys, and shot 47.9 percent (35-of-73) from the field. The Scots also held a big advantage in rebounding at 41-25 and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 16 second-chance points. Covenant's bench also supplied 34 points.
Phelps led the bench with 14 points, while Boyd added eight points and three rebounds. Patjo Twagirayezu tallied six points, six rebounds and three assists in the win.
Methodist was led by Monk's 13 points, while Mike Major had nine points and six rebounds. The Monarchs shot 43.5 percent (20-of-46) but turned the ball over 19 times.
Covenant will travel to Danville, Va., on Tuesday for a makeup game against Averett. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Grant Center. Covenant's original game on Feb. 2 at Berea was cancelled last week.
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