LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team saw a 19-point second half lead nearly evaporate, but the Scots made key plays down the stretch to hold on for a 71-66 win over Pfeiffer in USA South action on Saturday afternoon inside Barnes PE Center.
Covenant (6-4, 3-0 USA South) remains the lone unbeaten team in the USA South with the win and snapped a two-game losing skid.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first three minutes of the game, Covenant flexed its collective muscle and overpowered Pfeiffer (6-5, 1-2 USA South) for the next 20 minutes of play. The Scots used a 35-13 run to finish off the first half and take a 35-20 lead into the break.
Covenant held Pfeiffer, which led the USA South in team scoring average at 93.7 points per game, to just 25 percent shooting in the opening half.
The lead grew to 19 (39-20) within the first minute of the second half as Will Crumly and Chris Barnette connected on baskets on consecutive possessions. That was the largest lead for the Scots on the afternoon.
Pfeiffer chipped away at its deficit and got within six (48-42) after a Sean Scott jumper with 10:26 remaining. After Covenant stretched the lead to nine, the visiting Falcons used a 10-3 run to trim the Covenant lead to 58-56 with 6:10 left.
Crumly had the response for the Scots as his layup and subsequent 3-pointer gave Covenant a 63-58 lead with 4:07 remaining. Pfeiffer cut the lead again as Craig Sabb's mid-range jumper pulled the Falcons to within 63-62, but Crumly's layup with two minutes left and a Barnette jumper with under a minute to go got the Scots back up by five. A pair of Mitchell Hollis free throw with two seconds remaining sealed the win.
Barnette nearly had a triple-double with a game-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Crumly added 17 points and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field with eight rebounds. Noah Oetjen scored nine points with six rebounds off the bench.
Covenant shot 52.9 percent (27-of-51) from the floor and 13-of-19 at the foul line. The Scots held a 38-26 edge on the boards.
Pfeiffer was led by Jamaal David's 17 points and eight rebounds, while Sabb had 15 points and Scott 13 points. The Falcons were limited to 40 percent (24-of-60) shooting for the game with five 3-pointers.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GAME
Covenant will travel to Demorest, Ga., on Wednesday to take on Piedmont. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
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