LAGRANGE, Ga. -- Late-game heroics are becoming the norm for Covenant men's basketball sophomore Chris Barnette.
Barnette drained a turn-around jumper from just inside the 3-point line with 2.5 seconds left to lift Covenant past LaGrange, 80-78, in a pivotal USA South game on Friday night inside Mariotti Gym.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Covenant (10-6, 7-2 USA South) and completed a regular season sweep of LaGrange (3-13, 2-7 USA South).
It was the second time this season that Barnette hit a game-winning jumper with fewer than three seconds left. Barnette also came up clutch in the same situation against Huntingdon on Dec. 7 at home.
Barnette scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half as he helped the Scots stave off a furious LaGrange rally. Covenant led by as many as 13 (47-34) in the second half and had a 78-71 lead with under two minutes to play.
LaGrange rallied back as Julian Cameron scored seven points in the span of 74 seconds, including a driving layup with 24 seconds left that tied the score at 78. After a timeout, Covenant waited for the final shot and Barnette dribbled inside the 3-point line before turning and burying a long jumper to give the Scots an 80-78 lead with 2.5 seconds left.
The host Panthers had one final chance, but a long pass was corraled by Lincoln Anderson and his desperation shot from 20 feet hit the side of the backboard as time expired.
The Scots dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half and took a lead that they would hold for much of the rest of the night. Covenant used a 16-2 run over a span of five minutes to take a 36-23 lead with 3:36 left in the half.
Will Crumly hit his first seven shots in the opening half and scored 15 points before halftime. Covenant shot a blistering 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the floor in the opening period with seven 3-pointers, including three from Zack Allen.
Covenant cooled off in the second half but maintained a lead until the final minute of play. The Scots ended the night shooting 57.4 percent (27-of-47) from the field and 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from 3-point land.
A perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line in the second half enabled the Scots to remain in the lead. Covenant finished the night 14-of-17 at the charity stripe.
Crumly finished with 23 points and five rebounds, while Barnette scored 16 with six rebounds. Allen ended with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from deep. Jared Jauch dished out four assists as Covenant totaled 17 in the game.
Cameron led LaGrange with 23 points and Anderson registered a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers shot 40.8 percent (29-of-71) with eight 3-pointers and 12-of-17 at the line.
Covenant will travel to Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday to face Huntingdon. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. EST).
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