LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team will be the No. 8 seed and will square off with top-seed and host Averett in the first round of the USA South Tournament on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Danville, Va.
The entire tournament will take place on the campus of Averett University and at the Grant Center from Feb. 23-25.
Covenant (14-11, 7-7 USA South) finished the regular season winning six of its last seven games to work its way up the conference standings and nab the final slot in the eight-team conference tournament field. The Scots capped the regular season with a convincing 91-64 victory over Piedmont at home on Saturday.
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- Covenant enters the tournament as the reigning champion. The Scots defeated LaGrange 101-92 in overtime in the 2016 championship to claim the program's first USA South title and first NCAA Tournament bid.
- Covenant, picked third in the preseason poll, was 2-6 in conference play at one point during the year, but won five of the last six USA South games to finish 7-7. The Scots have finished .500 or better in conference play in three consecutive seasons.
- Covenant and Averett played on Feb. 11 on Lookout Mountain and the Scots took a 67-63 victory. Caleb Haynes had 17 points, a career-high, while Will Portlock had 14 in the victory. The win was Covenant's fifth straight at the time.
- The Scots feature two of the top five 3-point percentage leaders in the USA South. Z Arima leads the conference at 50 percent from beyond the arc, while Patjo Twagirayezu is fifth at 43.8 percent. As a team, Covenant is second in the USA South in 3-point percentage at 37.4 percent.
- Twagirayezu and Arima were honored by the USA South with postseason awards. Twagirayezu was voted to the All-Conference second team as he leads the Scots in scoring at 13.0 points per game. For a third straight year Arima was Covenant's representative on the All-Sportsmanship team.
- Thursday will mark the second time in three years that Covenant and Averett have met in the first round of the USA South Tournament. Averett also won the league regular season title in 2014-15 and defeated the No. 8 seeded Scots 67-61 in the opening round of the tournament in Danville, Va. Covenant is 2-3 all-time against Averett and has won the last two meetings.
- Covenant is 3-1 all-time in the USA South Tournament and the appearance is the third overall for the program.
- No matter the outcome the rest of the year, Covenant has clinched a winning season for a second straight year. It is only the second time in the 59-year history of the program that Covenant has recorded consecutive winning seasons. The program record is four straight winning years, accomplished from 1983-87.
- Against the field this year:
- vs. No. 1 Averett (1-0; W, 67-63 on Lookout Mountain on Feb. 11)
- vs. No. 2 Methodist (0-1; L, 69-83 in Fayetteville, N.C. on Jan. 13)
- vs. No. 3 Maryville (0-2; L, 75-83 on Lookout Mountain on Jan. 10; L, 76-83 in Maryville on Feb. 15)
- vs. No. 4 William Peace (1-0; W, 84-82 (OT) on Lookout Mountain on Jan. 28)
- vs. No. 5 LaGrange (2-0; W, 93-82 (OT) on Lookout Mountain on Jan. 6; W, 66-61 in LaGrange on Jan. 21)
- vs. No. 6 Piedmont (1-1; L, 56-59 in Demorest on Jan. 18; W, 91-64 on Lookout Mountain on Feb. 18)
- vs. No. 7 Greensboro (0-1; L, 67-80 in Greensboro on Jan. 14)
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