FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- Caleb Haynes scored 26 points to lead five Covenant men's basketball players in double figure scoring as the Scots used 59 percent shooting to down Methodist, 92-88, on Friday night in USA South action.
The win is the third straight for Covenant (11-8, 6-5 USA South). It was also the second consecutive game that the Scots took down a USA South division leader. Methodist (15-5, 10-2 USA South) fell at home for just the second time this season, and the first against a conference-counting opponent.
Haynes and the Scots were nearly unstoppable in the first half. Covenant blistered the net shooting 67.6 percent (23-of-34) from the field with eight 3-pointers. Haynes and Bailey Spragg each had 14 points in the period and Berto Dryden had 10.
Covenant led 6-0 in the first minute of the game, aided by a pair of Haynes baskets, and extended that lead to 18-6 after a Will Crumly free throw with 15:03 left in the half. The shots continued to fall throughout the rest of the first 20 minutes. Covenant used a 7-0 run, with all points coming from Spragg, to build a 36-21 lead with 6:12 left. A Crumly 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds capped the half and gave the Scots a 55-40 lead at the break.
The Scots cooled considerably in the second half, but never lost the lead despite a couple of Methodist rallies. The host Monarchs got within four, 74-70, after a 10-2 run with 5:12 left, but baskets from Spragg and Haynes got the lead back to eight for Covenant with under four minutes remaining.
Covenant led 89-80 with 34 seconds left after two Crumly free throws, but Methodist had one last response in them. Davion Ayabarreno hit two 3-pointers in the span of eight seconds of gameplay to bring Methodist within four, 92-88, but the Monarchs would run out of time as the Scots never trailed in the contest.
Haynes was 12-of-15 from the field and added eight rebounds with his 26 points. Spragg ended the night with 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals. Dryden finished with 16 points and three assists, while James Mitchell hit four 3-pointers and had 12 points. Off the bench, Covenant got 10 points from Crumly and seven from Nick Palmer.
Covenant shot 59.3 percent (35-of-59) from the field with 10 3-pointers. The Scots dished out 19 assists and had 25 points off 20 Methodist turnovers.
Methodist was led by Bryan Rouse's 23 points. Troynell Reese had 17 and Ayabarreno finished with 15 points. Jackson Whitley tallied 13 points and seven rebounds and Rae Hall had 12 points. The Monarchs shot 53.2 percent (33-of-62) and held a 32-30 rebounding edge.
Covenant is back in action on Saturday at William Peace. Game time in Raleigh, N.C., is set for 4 p.m.
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