WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Z Arima scored a career-high 26 points, but the Covenant men's basketball team could not overcome No. 4-ranked Whitman in a 101-85 loss on Saturday night inside the Sherwood Center in Walla Walla.
The game was the second in as many night against a top-10 ranked foe for Covenant (4-3) The Scots have dropped two straight games for the first time since January of last season, a stretch of 25 games.
Arima scored 26 points to set a career-high for the second time in four games. The senior went 10-of-16 from the floor with five 3-pointers to lead the way. Berto Dryden added 17 points and three assists and Patjo Twagirayezu contributed 15 points and seven rebounds. Bailey Spragg had a team-high six assists to go along with five rebounds and seven points before fouling out, while Connor Sears tallied eight points and three boards. Caleb Haynes recorded a team-best eight rebounds on the night.
Facing a full-court pressure defense all game, Covenant struggled at times with turnovers. The Scots totaled 24 turnovers on the night, which Whitman converted into 27 points. But the Scots hung around due in large part to the 3-point shot. Covenant made 13 3-pointers and shot 59.1 percent from behind the arc for the game. From the field, the Scots connected on 53 percent (35-of-66).
Covenant led 5-2 early on after Spragg hit a triple and Arima a layup in the early going. Whitman seized a 13-point lead in the first half at 33-20 after a Cedric Jacob-Jones layup with eight minutes left in the period. Covenant scored the next seven points, capped by a 3-pointer from Arima, to cut the deficit to 33-27 with 6:56 left. The Scots would get as close as four on two occasions in the final minutes of the half, but Whitman held a 46-37 lead at halftime.
Whitman (6-0) quickly upped its lead to 12 in the second half, but Covenant would keep the host Blues within striking distance for much of the final 20 minutes. The Scots trailed by six at 54-48 after a Dryden jumper at the 15:25 mark and that would be as close as Covenant would get the rest of the way.
Tim Howell went 9-of-16 from the floor and scored 26 points to lead Whitman offensively. Joey Hewitt added 25 points with JoJo Wiggins and Austin Butler adding 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Blue shot 53.4 percent (39-of-73) for the game and 19-of-24 from the foul line. Covenant limited the Blues to just 4-of-16 shooting from 3-point territory.
Both teams grabbed 35 rebounds with Whitman collecting 10 on the offensive glass and scoring 12 second-chance points.
Covenant will travel to Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 17 to open USA South play against Ferrum. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
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