LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Patjo Twagirayezu recorded a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, but visiting North Carolina Wesleyan was able to hold off the Covenant men's basketball team as the Scots dropped a 59-56 decision on Friday night inside Barnes PE Center.
Twagirayezu went 9-of-12 from the field, while collecting a career-high 13 rebounds in the loss for the Scots (8-10, 2-6 USA South). Berto Dryden had 12 points and four assists and Bailey Spragg added 10 points, four assists and two steals. Caleb Haynes contributed eight points and seven rebounds.
Both teams struggled to connect from the field as Covenant finished 21-of-53 (39.6 percent) from the floor, while N.C. Wesleyan was 23-of-58 (39.7 percent).
The shooting woes started for N.C. Wesleyan as the Bishops went scoreless for the first 5:54 of the game and missed their first 10 shots overall. Covenant took advantage and built a 9-0 lead after Dryden connected on a short jumper with 15:49 left in the half. But N.C. Wesleyan would heat up and make 11 of its next 14 shots and grabbed a 22-20 lead on an Adrian Moore jumper with 3:53 to go. The Bishops went into the break with a 32-25 lead.
In the second half, Covenant seized a four-point edge after rattling off a 10-0 scoring run to take a 41-37 lead with 12:52 left. Spragg and Twagirayezu had 3-pointers during the run and Twagirayezu punctuated the stretch with an offensive rebound and tip-in to make it 41-37.
N.C. Wesleyan answered the Covenant run with one of its own. The Bishops scored 12 straight points and took a 49-41 lead with 8:30 remaining. The Bishops would up the lead to 53-43 two minutes later, their largest lead of the contest, but Covenant had one final push left.
The Scots cut the deficit to 57-53 with 25 seconds left after a Twagirayezu jumper. After two N.C. Wesleyan made free throws, Twagirayezu nailed a 3-pointer with just eight ticks left. The Bishops then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw before the ball was knocked out of bounds by N.C. Wesleyan with 3.4 seconds left. Stout defense on the ensuing inbounds play resulted in a Covenant heave from past halfcourt that missed the mark as time expired.
Moore led N.C. Wesleyan (10-8, 3-4 USA South) with a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Justin Tankelewicz scored 11 points and Chris Braswell had nine. The Bishops held a 37-31 rebounding edge.
Covenant hosts USA South foe William Peace on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Barnes PE Center.
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