LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Barnes PE Center is quickly becoming one of the toughest places to play in the USA South.
A raucous crowd saw the Covenant men's basketball team shoot over 59 percent in the second half to rally past Maryville, 80-73, for a key USA South victory on Wednesday night.
Covenant (10-8, 5-5 USA South) trailed by as many as 12 in the opening half and the Scots were down eight at the break before coming on strong over the final 20 minutes. The win pushed Covenant's home record to 6-1 on the year, with the last two wins coming over a previously-unbeaten Pfeiffer squad and tonight over a previously-unbeaten USA South team in Maryville (14-5, 10-1 USA South).
Berto Dryden had a game-high 23 points to lead Covenant and collected seven rebounds. Caleb Haynes produced a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds, while James Mitchell hit five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
Trailing by eight at halftime, Covenant quickly got within five at 45-40 after a Mitchell 3-pointer early in the second half. Maryville responded with five straight points to regain a double-digit lead, 50-40, moments later. Covenant chipped away at the deficit and got even at 58 apiece after a 7-0 scoring run was capped by a Mitchell Hollis 3-pointer with 12:05 left.
Maryville went back ahead at 66-61, but again Covenant had a response. A Dryden triple with 4:28 left highlighted a 7-1 run that briefly gave Covenant a 68-67 lead. Maryville took back the lead with a pair of free throws on its next possession, but Mitchell drilled a 3-pointer on Covenant's next trip giving the host Scots a 71-69 edge with 4:09 remaining.
Covenant would never trail again. A key bucket from Haynes snapped a 73-73 tie with 1:31 left and Mitchell hit his fifth trey of the game to make it 78-73 with 52 seconds left. Two Jared Jauch free throws down the stretch sealed the win.
Bailey Spragg finished with eight points and five assists for Covenant, while Jauch also dished out five assists. Covenant had 16 assists on 28 made field goals. Will Crumly chipped in six points and four boards off the bench.
Maryville shot 48.4 percent in the first half to gain a 45-37 lead at the break. Emier Bowman had 12 of his team-high 16 points in the first half and Emanuelle Garcia also scored a dozen in the first period.
Bowman had a double-double with 11 rebounds to go with his 16 points. He was joined in double figure scoring for Maryville by Daquan Summers and Garcia, who each scored 14. Maryville shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) for the game.
Covenant finished the night shooting 48.3 percent (28-of-58) and held a 37-36 rebounding edge. Twelve of Covenant's rebounds came on the offensive glass and the Scots turned in 20 second-chance points.
Covenant will travel to Fayetteville, N.C., on Friday to face USA South East-leading Methodist. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
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