BEREA, Ky. -- Caleb Haynes' tip-in off a missed 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left in the game gave the Covenant men's basketball team a 68-66 victory at Berea on Wednesday night in USA South action.
The win is the fifth in a row for Covenant (13-8, 8-5 USA South) and clinches a spot in the USA South Tournament for the Scots. It also completed a season sweep of Berea (7-14, 3-10 USA South).
Haynes had 24 points on the night, but the final two were the ones that mattered the most. Berto Dryden's 3-pointer was off the mark as time wound down, but Haynes was able to get a hand on the rebound and put it back through the net with 3.1 seconds on the clock giving the Scots a 68-66 lead. Berea had one last chance, but a 3-pointer from Deandre Lightfoot was off the mark at the buzzer.
Covenant led for much of the second half, but Berea responded and led 62-58 with under four minutes remaining. A Will Crumly jumper and a Haynes layup, assisted by Crumly, on back-to-back possessions tied the contest at 62 apiece with 3:20 remaining. The teams traded leads over the final three minutes before Covenant's final possession ended with Haynes putting the Scots on top for good.
Haynes was the only Covenant player in double figures on the night as he went 11-of-16 from the field and 2-for-2 at the line for his 24 points with eight rebounds. Crumly had nine points and five rebounds, while Bailey Spragg added eight points, six steals and five rebounds. Dryden chipped in seven points and six boards, and James Mitchell had six points and a team-best four assists.
The Scots shot 44.8 percent (30-of-67) from the field, but were just 5-of-28 from 3-point land. Covenant had a 42-30 rebounding edge and scored 12 second-chance points.
It was a sluggish first half of play for both teams. Haynes scored 12 of his points in the first, but Covenant shot only 43 percent in the period. The Scots held a 29-27 lead entering the break.
Covenant opened up an eight-point lead in the second half as Mitchell Hollis and Spragg had baskets on consecutive trips to give the Scots a 43-35 lead with 14:29 left. Berea responded with a 9-0 scoring run to take a one-point lead before a Mitchell 3-pointer gave Covenant a 46-44 edge with 11:10 to go. Berea surged ahead by five a few minutes later, but Covenant answered back with another Mitchell trey to slice the deficit to 60-58 with just over seven minutes left.
Berea had four players score in double figures led by Terique Miller and Lightfoot with 16 apiece. Dyonta Bizzle Brown had 14 points and Torell Carter added 10. The host Mountaineers shot 43.9 percent (25-of-57) for the game.
Covenant returns to Barnes PE Center on Friday night to host Greensboro. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
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