LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant men's basketball team held a seven-point lead at the half, but visiting Maryville rallied in the second period to claim a 66-51 victory inside Barnes Physical Education Center on Saturday afternoon.
Covenant drops to 8-11 on the season with the loss and 3-5 in conference action. Maryville has won seven straight and stands at 11-6 overall and a perfect 7-0 inside the USA South.
The host Scots used strong first halves from Robby Bell and Nate Frierson to build a seven-point edge at 34-27. Bell connected on three 3-pointers in the half and Frierson had eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. Covenant took a 23-16 lead after a Chris Boyd jumper with 6:09 to go in the period and Covenant went into the break with the same lead after Frierson and Bell made 3-pointers in the final two minutes.
Maryville clamped down on the defensive side in the second half and started the period by going on an 11-0 scoring run, capped by a Spencer Shoffner 3-pointer, to take a 38-34 lead. With the score tied at 40, Maryville pulled away a bit with a 9-0 run. Covenant would only get as close as seven points the rest of the way.
No player reached double figures in scoring for Covenant. Bell finished with nine points while Frierson, Boyd and Colton McGriff all had eight points apiece. McGriff grabbed eight rebounds and Boyd collected seven. Daniel Garrett scored seven points and had seven rebounds off the bench. Covenant shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field, but only 5-of-16 from 3-point land and 2-of-8 from the free throw line.
Jaumonee Byrd just missed a double-double for Maryville with 13 points and nine rebounds. Byrd had seven of his rebounds in the second half. Shoffner also scored 13 points and Oscar Butler poured in 11 points and four rebounds. Maryville connected on 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the floor and held a narrow 38-35 edge in rebounding.
Covenant will look to back on track on Wednesday, Jan. 29 against Piedmont. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m., or 25 minutes after the conclusion of the women's game that night.