FERRUM, Va. -- Z Arima and Patjo Twagirayezu had 14 points apiece, but the Covenant men's basketball team fell to Ferrum 75-62 in a USA South opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Swartz Gym.
Covenant (4-5, 0-1 USA South) has dropped three straight games and falls under .500 for the first time this season. Ferrum (5-5, 1-0 USA South) has won the last two meetings over the Scots.
Arima had seven rebounds, five assists and three steals to go along with his 14 points, while Twagirayezu added four rebounds and three steals. Berto Dryden scored 13 points and Connor Sears chipped in seven. Bailey Spragg also collected seven rebounds and five assists. The Scots shot 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the field, but were hampered by 17 turnovers and a 5-of-18 effort from behind the 3-point line.
Covenant led 13-7 at the 12:06 mark of the first half after a Sears layup, assisted by Zack Allen, before Ferrum scored the next seven points to take a 14-13 lead with 9:43 left in the half. The Scots regained the lead and held a 25-19 edge with five minutes to go, but Ferrum would score the final 12 points of the half to head into halftime with a 31-25 lead.
The host Panthers slowly built that six-point halftime lead into a double-digit cushion in the second half. Covenant trailed 45-35 after Ferrum's Carrington Young made 1-of-2 at the free throw line with 12:47 remaining. Ferrum stretched the lead out to as many as 15 with 9:57 left after a Rashad Reed 3-pointer made it 53-38.
Covenant would not go away as the Scots worked themselves back into the game. After a pair of Spragg free throws with 4:12 left, Covenant had sliced the deficit to 61-56. But Ferrum had the answer as the Panthers scored the next eight points to bring the lead back to double digits.
Josh Dudley led four Ferrum players in double figures with 17 points and 10 rebounds. D'Andre Mullen and Reed had 12 points apiece, while DJ Christian added 11 points and nine boards. The Panthers shot 47.7 percent (21-of-44) from the field, but made a mark at the three throw line making 27-of-41. The Panthers also held a 36-29 rebounding margin and had a 9-0 edge in second-chance points.
Covenant will take a short break for Christmas before returning to action on Dec. 27 at Division I member Tennessee State for an exhibition. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. EST) in Nashville, Tenn.
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