The Covenant men's basketball team fell behind by 19 points in the second half and would cut that deficit to three late in the contest, before ultimately falling 80-74 at Huntingdon in USA South action on Saturday afternoon.
The loss is Covenant's second straight and drops the Scots to 8-12 overall and 3-6 in league play. Huntingdon picks up its fifth straight victory and improves to 6-11 overall and 5-3 inside the conference.
Huntingdon led by seven at halftime, 36-29, and quickly built that lead to double digits in the opening minutes of the second half. The Hawks capped a quick 7-0 scoring run to go ahead 55-36 with 15:13 left in the contest.
Covenant would not go away quietly, though. Colton McGriff scored 14 points in the second half to get the Scots back in the game. A McGriff 3-pointer with 9:41 left finished off a 16-4 scoring run that cut the Scots' deficit to 59-52. Covenant continued the push as they got within three at 64-61 after Z Arima made a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions.
Huntingdon had the final answer, however, as Jason Varney scored nine points in the final four minutes to clinch the win for the Hawks. Varney went 7-for-10 at the foul line to seal the victory.
McGriff led the Scots with 22 points and five rebounds. Chris Boyd and Robby Bell each had 12 points, while Boyd tied a career-high with five blocks to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Nate Frierson had a team-high four assists with six points.
Covenant had just six turnovers in the game, the lowest output since turning the ball over eight times against Piedmont on Dec. 9, 2010.
The Scots shot 39.7 percent (25-of-63) from the field, but were 17-of-22 from the foul line. Huntingdon was 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the floor and made 28-of-40 from the charity stripe. The Hawks held a 49-33 rebounding edge and a 21-8 margin in second-chance points.
Varney led the Hawks with 22 points off the bench. Austin Hill and Jerome Davis tallied 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Covenant men will travel to face Maryville on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
In the women's game, Jessie Blankenship led three Covenant women's basketball players in double figures scoring with 21 points, but the Scots fell at Huntingdon 76-63 on Saturday afternoon in USA South action.
The loss drops Covenant to 5-14 overall and 2-9 inside the USA South. Huntingdon improves to 14-5 overall and 6-4 in league play.
Blankenship was 8-of-17 from the field and 5-of-7 from the foul line for her 21 points. The senior also grabbed five rebounds and had two blocks. Joining Blankenship in double figures was Aleigha Williams with 16 points, to go along with nine rebounds, and Morgan Woodward with 10 points. Woodward dished out six assists and collected two steals on the afternoon.
After not playing a game for a week due to the inclement weather, Covenant came out strong in the first half. The Scots took their largest lead of the game at 18-8 after Haley Soles drained a 3-pointer with 12 minutes left in the half. Huntingdon rallied to take a two-point edge late in the period, but Covenant ended the half on a 6-0 scoring run with baskets from Blankenship, Rachel Price and Williams to take a 33-29 lead at the intermission.
Huntingdon would eventually overtake the Scots in the second half. The host Hawks gained a 45-43 lead with 15:13 left on a Jodie Thomas bucket and would never look back.
Covenant had its third-best shooting night of the season, percentage-wise, by connecting on 43.1 percent (28-of-65) from the floor. The Scots limited Huntingdon to 36.4 percent (28-of-77) shooting, but the Hawks had a 64-31 rebounding edge and a 27-10 margin in second-chance points.
Huntingdon was led by Raven Prater's 27 points, while Pat Pickens registered a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds.
The Lady Scots also travel to USA South rival Maryville on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.