LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Led by a career-high 15 points from Will Portlock, the Covenant men's basketball team held off Maryville 74-69 on Senior Day inside Barnes PE Center on Saturday afternoon.
Covenant recognized its six seniors before the game. Micah Turner, TJ Cox, Robby Bell, Matt den Dulk, Chris Boyd and Daniel Garrett were all honored for their contributions to the program during their careers. The group has helped Covenant to 45 wins and two winning seasons during their time as Scots.
The victory for Covenant moves the Scots to 15-9 overall and 10-4 in the USA South. It also clinched Covenant the No. 2 seed in the upcoming USA South Tournament. The Scots will face No. 7 seed William Peace on Thursday at 3 p.m. in Rocky Mount, N.C.
Portlock led the way with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting with four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Cox had 10 of his 13 total points in the first half and dished out two assists and collected two steals. Boyd added eight points and a team-high six rebounds and three blocks. Bailey Spragg, Patjo Twagirayezu and Connor Sears all added seven points apiece.
The two teams went back-and-forth for the majority of the first half. Covenant gained a 35-32 lead heading into halftime after Garrett tipped in a Cox missed free throw in the final second of the half.
In the second half, Covenant went on a 15-0 run during a four minute stretch to go ahead 61-47 after a Sears tip-in with 7:55 left. Spragg and Cox had 3-pointers during the run, while Bell added three free throws and Portlock a layup.
Maryville (14-11, 5-9 USA South) would not go away as its season hung in the balance. The visiting Scots rattled off 11 straight to cut a 14-point Covenant lead to just three at 69-66 with 1:35 left after Blake Bowman made a layup. Covenant made 5-of-6 free throws in in the final 35 seconds to hang on for the win.
Spencer Shoffner led Maryville with 15 points and Dante Hoppa added 13. Tyler Spicer grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and Jaylen Bowyer had six assists. The loss ended the season for Maryville as it finished ninth in the USA South.
Covenant shot 42.6 percent (26-of-61) from the field with eight 3-pointers. Maryville was 23-of-30 from the free throw line but shot just 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the floor.
Covenant opens the USA South Tournament on Thursday against No. 7 seed William Peace at 3 p.m. in Rocky Mount, N.C. North Carolina Wesleyan, the tournament's top-seed, will serve as host for the entire tournament. For more information on the tournament, visit the USA South Tournament page here
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