LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team fell for just the third time since Jan. 1 as visiting Maryville defeated the Scots, 75-62, on Senior Day inside Barnes PE Center.
Even with the loss, Covenant (17-8, 16-2 USA South) will be the No. 1 West seed in next week's USA South Tournament. The Scots are set to host No. 4 West seed Huntingdon on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Before the game, Covenant honored its senior players Nick Palmer and Bailey Spragg, along with senior student managers Jacob Hooker and Eli Duncan, for their contributions to the program over the last four years. The group has collected 67 wins and will exit the program with the best winning percentage of any four-year class in program history. Hooker and Duncan both dressed for the contest and played the final minute.
It was also a significant day on the other sideline as longtime Maryville head coach Randy Lambert was coaching his final regular season game, as he will retire at the end of the season.
When play started, Maryville took charge. The visiting Scots surged ahead 14-0 as Dante Hoppa scored 11 points in the first four-plus minutes of the contest. Covenant trailed 18-3 before chipping away at the deficit.
Late in the first half, Covenant used an 8-0 run to trim a 16-point deficit to just eight (36-28) with 2:01 left in the period after Will Crumly converted a conventional three-point play. Another Crumly basket with 11 seconds left in the half kept the host Scots in striking distance at 43-32.
Covenant trailed for the entirety of the contest, but sliced the margin to five with a run in the second half. Trailing 65-52, the Scots used an 8-0 spurt, capped by a Mitchell Hollis 3-pointer, to get within 65-60 with six minutes remaining. However, Covenant would not get any closer as Maryville held the Scots to just two points the rest of the way to seal the win.
Crumly finished with 24 points and seven rebounds to lead Covenant. Spragg had 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds, while Hollis contributed 14 points and three boards. Covenant started cold from the field, but ended up shooting 49 percent (24-of-49) for the game with eight 3-pointers.
Hoppa scored 23 of his game-high 35 points in the first half to lead Maryville (18-7, 14-4 USA South). Hoppa was 12-of-18 from the field with five 3-pointers. Kaleb Estes had 12 points and Calvin Songster added 11. Maryville shot 50 percent (28-of-56) for the game with 10 3-pointers and 9-for-10 at the free throw line.
Covenant will host Huntingdon in a USA South Tournament first round game on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Admission will be charged for the event ($8 for adult, $3 for student/staff/faculty/senior/child).
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