LAGRANGE, Ga. -- Up by three at halftime and seven in the second half, the Covenant men's basketball team could not hold on to those leads as LaGrange mounted a rally and overcame the Scots 76-65 on Friday night in USA South play.
The loss drops Covenant to 13-9 overall and 8-4 in USA South action, while LaGrange goes to 16-6 on the year and 7-4 in conference play. LaGrange also secures a regular season sweep of the Scots.
For a second straight game, Berto Dryden led the Scots in scoring with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with two rebounds and two assists. Patjo Twagirayezu added 11 points and five rebounds in a reserve role, while Bailey Spragg contributed 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
The two teams went back-and-forth in a tightly played first half until Covenant seized control in the final few minutes of the period. A quick 7-2 run erased an 18-17 deficit for Covenant and the stretch was highlighted by Daniel Garrett's layup with 6:20 left. A few minutes later, Dryden scored seven straight points for the Scots to break a 24-24 tie and give Covenant a 31-24 lead with 2:19 remaining. The Scots went into the break with a 34-31 lead.
The Scots led by seven on two occasions in the second half with the second one coming with 10:18 left as Twagirayezu made a driving layup giving Covenant a 48-41 lead. LaGrange would rally and go on a 20-4 run over the next six minutes to take a 61-52 lead. Covenant got within five with under a minute to go, but the Panthers executed at the free throw line to thwart any Covenant rally.
Braxton Ford led all players with 21 points for LaGrange, while Mark Wagner poured in 16 points with six rebounds and four assists. Alex Bonner added 10 points. LaGrange shot over 45 percent in the second half alone and 42.5 percent (31-of-73) for the game. The Panthers held a 56-36 rebounding edge and had 16 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.
Covenant shot just 37.1 percent (26-of-70) with eight 3-pointers as a team. The Scots forced LaGrange into 20 turnovers, but had four points off those miscues.
Covenant finishes its three-game road trip on Saturday at Huntingdon. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. eastern time in Montgomery, Ala.
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