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Men's Hoops Knocks off Unbeaten Pfeiffer, 105-101

James Mitchell (Nina Grauley/Sports Information)
James Mitchell (Nina Grauley/Sports Information)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- James Mitchell hit seven 3-pointers and three Covenant men's basketball players scored 20 or more points as the Scots defeated unbeaten Pfeiffer, 105-101, on Saturday afternoon inside Barnes PE Center.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Covenant (8-7). Pfeiffer (11-1), a reclassifying member of NCAA Division III and the USA South, falls for the first time this year after defeating opponents by an average of 40 points coming into Saturday's game. It also snapped a 24-game regular season winning streak for Pfeiffer. The game does not count towards conference standings.

Covenant limited the visiting Falcons to a season-low 101 points. Pfeiffer entered the day scoring 116.9 points per game and led the USA South in nearly offensive category. It was the third time this season that the Scots have eclipsed 100 points in a game.

Mitchell scored all of his game-high tying 21 points from beyond the 3-point line. The sophomore went 7-of-15 from deep and added two assists and three steals. Berto Dryden and Caleb Haynes had 20 points each, while Dryden dished out six assists with four rebounds and Haynes collected seven rebounds. Bailey Spragg tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Jared Jauch had a game-high seven assists with his six points.

Covenant struggled in the early going adjusting to the tempo that Pfeiffer set. The Falcons play an up-tempo style, similar to Grinnell and Rhodes in Division III, and frequently substitute in five new players. Pfeiffer took its largest lead of the day at 16-6 after a Josiah Avington 3-pointer with 14:25 left in the first.

The Scots answered back with a 14-6 run, capped by a Mitchell 3-pointer, to get within 26-25 with 10:01 left in the half. The teams traded slim leads throughout the final 10 minutes before Pfeiffer took a 56-52 lead into the break. Covenant shot 55.3 percent in the first half, while Pfeiffer connected on 54.3 percent.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Mitchell started the second half giving the Scots a 58-56 lead. Covenant would go ahead by six, 79-73, after a triple from Dryden with 10:13 left and extended the lead to 84-76 after Will Crumly finished a three-point play with 8:22 remaining. 

Pfeiffer responded with a run to regain the lead at 95-93 with 2:53 left. A Haynes layup on Covenant's next possession tied the game and two Spragg free throws shortly after made it 97-95 with just over two minutes left. After Pfeiffer gained a one-point lead on Marcus Sawyers' 3-pointer, a Haynes layup gave Covenant a 99-98 edge and a lead it would not give up.

Covenant went 6-of-6 at the foul line in the final minute to secure the victory.

Crumly and Mitchell Hollis had nine points each for Covenant and Stefon Bright was a spark off the bench with seven points, four rebounds and two assists. Covenant shot 56.1 percent (37-of-66) from the floor with 15 3-pointers and 25 assists.

Pfeiffer was led by Josh Calhoun's 21 points and four assists. Sawyers had 15 points, while Avington had 12 and Craig Sabb 11. Eric Ambrosio and Brendan Jones had 10 points each. The Falcons connected on 49.3 percent (36-of-73) with 11 3-pointers and an 18-of-23 effort at the foul line.


Covenant travels to LaGrange for a USA South matchup on Friday, Jan. 26. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


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