FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- A matchup featuring division leaders in the USA South lived up to the billing, but the Covenant men's basketball team came out on the wrong side as Methodist used a late surge to defeat the Scots, 62-54, on Friday night inside the Riddle Center in Fayetteville.
The loss for Covenant (9-5, 6-1 USA South) snaps a four-game win streak. Methodist (10-5, 6-1 USA South) has won the last two meetings between the programs.
The game featured two of the top three defenses in the USA South as Covenant came into the contest giving up the fewest points per game in the league, while Methodist was third. Neither team found much rhythm offensively, but it was Methodist that took advantage of opportunities late.
In a tight game that saw eight ties and six lead changes, Covenant led 49-48 with 3:49 remaining after a Chris Barnette free throw. Methodist regained the lead for good on a Kaymon Mitchell layup with 3:32 left and that sparked an 8-0 run for the host Monarchs as they took a 56-49 lead.
The Scots were limited to just two made field goals in the final nine minutes of the contest and would only get as close as five in the final minute.
Barnette led Covenant with a game-high 21 points to go with nine rebounds and two assists. Will Crumly recorded his fifth double-double of the year with 10 points and 13 rebounds while adding a team-best four assists. Zack Allen chipped in six points with eight rebounds and three blocks.
Covenant shot 37.5 percent (18-of-48) from the field and 13-of-18 at the foul line. Covenant had the edge on the boards, 38-33.
Methodist put three players in double figures led by Mitchell's 18 points. Dante Burden registered 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and four steals on the night, while Calvin Manley had 10 points.
Covenant fell behind by double-digits in the first half before rallying at the end of the period. Down 24-14 with eight minutes left in the first, Covenant outscored Methodist 15-8 to get within 32-29 at the break. Crumly had six points during the stretch, including a turn-around jumper as the horn sounded at the end of the period.
The loss for the Scots also snapped an 11-game conference road winning streak. It is Covenant's first road loss within conference play since Feb. 17, 2018, at Piedmont.
Covenant will travel to Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday to face William Peace. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
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