DANVILLE, Va. -- The Covenant men's basketball team continued its unbeaten run through the USA South on Saturday, but needed a late defensive stop to hold off host Averett, 62-59, inside the Grant Center.
Covenant (11-6, 10-0 USA South) never trailed in the contest and held on for the victory in the final seconds as Montre' Cash's forced 3-point attempt to tie the game fell short. The Scots have won six straight games overall and remain atop the USA South West Division.
Bailey Spragg led the way for the Scots with 18 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, with six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The 18 points puts Spragg just four points shy of 1,000 for his career.
For a second straight day, it was a quick start for Covenant. The Scots hit four consecutive 3-pointers, three of which came from Mitchell, to grab a 12-4 lead in the first three minutes. That margin grew to 12 on three occasions later in the half, with the last after a Crumly jumper at the 14:00 mark that made it 20-8.
Averett climbed back into the contest as the Scots suffered through a near four-minute drought. Another Mitchell triple snapped the cold spell and regained the lead for the Scots at 29-26 with 3:50 left in the period. Covenant entered the half with a 36-32 lead as Mitchell scored all 12 of his points in the period.
The host Cougars got within two (42-40) early in the second half, but Covenant put together a run to seize control. Covenant went on an 11-0 spurt over a span of over four minutes, highlighted by a pair of Crumly baskets and a Hollis 3-pointer, to bring the lead back to double figures at 53-40 with 12:37 left.
Covenant made nine of its first 14 shots in the second half to rebuild a double-digit advantage.
The lead for the Scots was 10 (61-51) after a Spragg layup with 5:18 left, but Averett made one last push. A TJ McAllister 3-pointer brought Averett within 62-59 with 49 seconds remaining and the Cougars held defensively to have a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. With three seconds left, Cash forced up a 3-pointer over Crumly and the ball fell short of the hoop as time expired.
Covenant shot 47.3 percent (26-of-55) from the field with seven 3-pointers. The 62 points tied for the lowest output of the season, but the Scots won both of those games.
Averett (3-14, 3-6 USA South) got 18 points and six rebounds from Timothy Henry, while Cash chipped in eight. Isaiah Jones had a game-high 10 rebounds as the Cougars out-rebounded the Scots 41-24 and had a 12-3 edge in second-chance points. Averett connected on 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field and 12-of-16 at the foul line.
Covenant hosts Brevard on Friday, Jan. 25 to start a two-game conference weekend. Tip-off inside Barnes PE Center is set for 7:30 p.m.
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