ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Covenant men's basketball team saw its historic season come to an end on Friday night with a 76-51 loss to Emory in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament at Woodruff PE Center.
The loss ends Covenant's season with an 18-10 overall record. The 18 wins are the most since the 1995-96 season and the .643 winning percentage is the highest ever in the program's 58-year history.
Emory (19-7) moves on to the second round and will face Birmingham Southern who knocked off USA South member LaGrange 93-91 in Friday's first game.
In the first half, Covenant struggled to find the bottom of the net from the field. The Scots missed 19 of their first 20 shot attempts and trailed 26-3 with 5:35 left in the period. The final five minutes, Covenant began clicking on offense. Robby Bell drained back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 17 with over three minutes left. The Scots would trim the margin down to 13 after a Bailey Spragg layup, but Emory's Jonathan Terry brought the Eagles' lead to 33-17 with a 3-pointer near the end of the half.
The Scots started the second half strong as they scored the first five points of the period. TJ Cox drained a 3-pointer and Spragg followed with a driving layup to make it 33-22 with 19:06 left in the game. But Emory responded by scoring the next five and the Eagles led by double digits the rest of the way.
Cox led the Scots with 12 points, while Bell had nine and Daniel Garrett seven. Covenant improved its shooting in the second half but ended up connecting in just 27 percent (17-of-63) for the game. Covenant forced Emory into 19 turnovers, but the host Eagles made up for that with 11 3-pointers and 45 percent (27-of-60) shooting.
Four players scored in double figures for Emory led by Will Trawick's 17 points. Austin DaGue added 16, while Adam Gigax and Davis Rao had 11 and 10, respectively.
The contest was the final one in the collegiate careers of Cox, Bell, Garrett, Chris Boyd, Micah Turner and Matt den Dulk. The group collected 48 wins over the last four years and led the program to two winning seasons and this year's conference championship.
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