LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit and sent the game to overtime before falling to Piedmont, 89-82, in USA South action inside Barnes PE Center on Thursday night.
Covenant (7-7, 3-4 USA South) suffered from a cold shooting night and fell behind by 21 points, 46-25, at halftime. However, Covenant got hot from the field in the second half to put together a comeback.
The Scots scored the first five points of the second half as Nick Palmer made a driving layup and Berto Dryden added a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 46-30 with 19:20 left. Piedmont stretched its lead back to 20 at 57-37 with 13:20 left, but a 22-4 scoring run over a span of nearly seven minutes got Covenant within two, 61-59, with 6:45 left after a Caleb Haynes bucket.
After Piedmont got a basket to slow down Covenant's momentum, a Haynes conventional three-point play made it 63-62 with 5:58 remaining. Another Haynes basket on the Scots' next possession gave Covenant a 64-63 lead. Covenant would go ahead 72-69 after a Dryden 3-pointer and a Will Crumly layup with 2:04 left. Piedmont answered back and took a 78-75 lead with 27 seconds remaining.
Trailing by three, Dryden missed a 3-point attempt but hustle from Haynes forced a jump ball, with the arrow favoring the Scots, with under 10 seconds to go. James Mitchell got the inbounds pass, worked around a screen, and drilled a deep 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to tie the score at 78.
Piedmont threw the ball away on its possession leaving the Scots one last chance in regulation. The ensuing inbounds pass was lofted towards the goal where Crumly nearly got a short jumper to drop as time expired sending the contest to overtime.
In the overtime session, Piedmont seized the lead early and never relinquished it. The Lions went 5-of-6 at the line in the extra session to secure the road win.
Haynes led Covenant with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Dryden added 17 points and five rebounds, while Bailey Spragg had 13 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds. Crumly produced double-digit points off the bench with 14, including four 3-pointers. Palmer added seven points and Mitchell had six in the loss.
Covenant connected on just 35.4 percent (29-of-82) from the field, despite shooting 46.2 percent (18-of-39) in the second half. It is the second lowest shooting percentage of the year for the Scots.
Piedmont (9-6, 6-2 USA South) had three players register double-doubles, led by Elijah Alston's 25 points and 13 rebounds. Marquise Lanier had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Justin Vallejo had 14 points and 11 boards. Taylor Mills added 19 points and Landry Assinesi had six points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Piedmont shot 46.5 percent (33-of-71) from the field and held a 58-36 rebounding edge.
Covenant returns to Barnes PE Center on Saturday to take on Pfeiffer. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.
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