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CHAMPS! Men's Basketball Clinches Regular Season Title

(photo credit: Nina Grauley/Sports Information)

DEMOREST, Ga. -- Down by 10 in the second half, the Covenant men's basketball rallied to defeat Piedmont, 87-71, inside Cave Arena on Saturday afternoon to clinch the USA South West Division regular season title.

The win gave Covenant (16-7, 15-1 USA South) the USA South West Division regular season crown, its first conference regular season championship since the 1963-64 season and just the second overall in program history. Covenant will be the No. 1 West seed, and will host a first round game, when the USA South Tournament tips off on Feb. 19.

The victory also gave Covenant a program record for conference wins in a single-season with 15. The Scots also finish the conference season with a perfect 9-0 record in road games.

Covenant's starters combined to score 82 of the team's points in the comeback win. Mitchell Hollis, Bailey Spragg, and Will Crumly all had 20 points apiece, while Daevon Platt had 12 points and James Mitchell 10. Spragg totaled 10 assists and eight rebounds.

After leading at the half by one, the Scots found themselves down by 10 with 12 minutes remaining. Covenant used an 11-2 run, capped by a Hollis 3-pointer, to get within two (63-61) with over 10 minutes to go. Covenant eventually tied the score at 70 apiece on a Crumly 3-pointer at the 7:06 mark.

The Scots then took the lead for good with a 9-2 run as Spragg hit a layup followed by 3-pointers from Mitchell and Hollis on consecutive possession to make it 79-72 with 4:59 remaining. Piedmont got within three later in the half, but Spragg scored the final five points to seal the victory.

Covenant shot 56.4 percent (31-of-55) from the field with 13 3-pointers and a 12-for-16 effort at the foul line. It was the 13th time this season the Scots have eclipsed 50 percent shooting in a game.

Noah Oetjen came off the bench to dish out five assists as Covenant recorded 20 on the day. 

Marquise Lanier had a game-high 24 points for Piedmont (5-19, 4-13 USA South). Jordan Foote scored 15 points and Taylor Mills had 13. The host Lions connected on 50 percent (33-of-66) for the game with 11 3-pointers. Piedmont held a 34-27 rebounding edge as Lanier grabbed eight rebounds.


Covenant begins the final week of the regular season on Wednesday at home against Berea. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.


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