LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Chris Barnette scored 23 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, including the game-winner with 2.7 seconds left, to lead the Covenant men's basketball team to a comeback win, 79-77, over Huntingdon on Saturday afternoon inside Barnes PE Center.
Barnette scored all of Covenant's final 16 points in the game, over a span of nine minutes, as the Scots completed a comeback win in a game they trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half. Barnette set a career-high with his 25 points, while going 10-of-16 from the field to go along with seven assists and four rebounds.
Covenant (5-2, 2-0 USA South) never led in the contest until the final minute. With the game tied at 77, Barnette took charge once again as he drained a long jumper with 2.7 seconds left to give the Scots a 79-77 lead. On Huntingdon's final possession, the visiting Hawks got the ball up the floor, but James Harris' contested 3-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
It was the third straight game between Covenant and Huntingdon (2-5, 0-1 USA South) that was decided by two points or fewer. Covenant has won all three of those games and extended its winning streak over the Hawks to 12.
Huntingdon opened the game on an 8-0 run and led for over 36 minutes of the contest. The Hawks stretched a first half lead to 16 points (44-28) after a pair of free throws from Logan Goree with 2:04 left in the period. Huntingdon went into halftime with a 48-35 lead after shooting 60.7 percent (17-of-28) from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Covenant trailed by 14 early in the second half before making its move. An 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Noah Oetjen and Barnette, brought the Scots to within 54-49 with 15:17 left. The Scots caught up with the Hawks for the first time all game on a Mitchell Hollis triple that made it 63-63 with 10:54 remaining.
From there the two teams traded baskets down the stretch, with Barnette providing all the offense for the Scots. There were seven ties over the final nine-plus minutes of action.
Down 75-73 with just over one minute left, Covenant got a defensive stop and Barnette made two free throws to even the score again. The Scots got another stop defensively and Barnette gave Covenant its first lead of the game with his driving layup with 33.5 seconds left. Harris answered for the Hawks with a basket of his own with 21.8 left. After a Covenant timeout, Barnette put the Scots in the lead for good with his long jumper.
After shooting just 42.9 percent in the first half, Covenant finished the game connecting on 54.7 percent (29-of-53) with 12 3-pointers and a 9-of-11 effort at the line.
Harris and Ceaunte Zachery had 16 points apiece to lead Huntingdon. Damien Madison and Caleb Toney each scored 11 points. Huntingdon made 53.6 percent (30-of-56) for the game and 12-of-14 from the free throw line.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
Covenant will be off for three weeks for final exams and Christmas Break. The Scots are back in action on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Belhaven. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. EST).
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