NOTE: This is the tenth, and final, of a weekly summer series on athletics.covenant.edu highlighting some of the top athletic moments and accomplishments from the 2015-16 academic year. This is not a ranking, or even a full comprehensive list, because of the many great accomplishments Covenant athletic programs had during the year. We hope you enjoy a look back at the many triumphs of the Covenant Scots during the 2015-16 year. --- Andrew Mindeman, Sports Information Director.
History was made in the 2015-16 men's basketball season. Covenant was picked to finish 10th in the USA South in the league's preseason poll, but with 10 returners, along with key newcomers, Covenant had one of its best seasons ever.
The Scots nearly knocked off Division I foe Liberty in an exhibition game and then started the year 3-0. After suffering through a tough December and early January, Covenant won five straight conference games, including a victory at Maryville. The Scots continued much of that momentum into the month of February as they won the final two regular season games of the year before entering the USA South Tournament as a No. 2 seed.
Spearheaded by the play of senior TJ Cox, sophomore Berto Dryden, freshman Bailey Spragg and others, the Scots advanced to the tournament championship game. Facing LaGrange, a team that had beaten Covenant twice already during the year, Covenant built a 19-point second half lead. But LaGrange put together a rally and tied the game in the final seconds to send the contest into overtime. Covenant regrouped in the extra session and ran away with the game for a 101-92 victory and the tournament title.
Cox was named tournament MVP after averaging 16.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. Dryden and Spragg were also named to the All-Tournament team.
It was the first conference title since 1964 and the first conference tournament title ever in the program's history.
The USA South title gave Covenant an automatic berth in its first NCAA Division III Tournament. The Scots drew perennial power Emory, who defeated Covenant earlier in the year, in the first round. Having to play on Emory's home court in Atlanta, Ga., Covenant struggled in the first 15 minutes of the game and would not be able to rally in a 76-51 loss.
Covenant finished the year with an 18-10 overall record (.643 winning percentage) and was 10-4 in the USA South. The 18 wins are tied for fourth-most in program history and the .643 winning percentage is the highest ever.
Previous Top Moments:
June 2: Sneller's Phenomenal Rookie Year
June 9: Men's Soccer Wins Season Opener
June 16: Harvie's Historic Year
June 23: Volleyball Wins USA South Title
June 30: Softball Rallies at Ferrum
July 7: Women's Basketball Wins in 3 OT at William Peace
July 14: Women's Soccer Takes Wins over Sewanee, NC Wesleyan
July 21: Big Year for Women's Tennis
July 28: Baseball Knocks off Emory
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