The Covenant men’s basketball team held on for a, 71-66, win over Birmingham Southern on Friday night from Juhan Gymnasium on the campus of the University of the South to open up the 2019-20 campaign.
The Scots held a 53-38 lead before the Panthers began chipping away and knotting things at 64 with just under 90 seconds to go.
Covenant (1-0) answered with a 3-pointer from James Mitchell and made free-throws down the stretch to ice the game and come away with a victory in their season opener.
The Scots were led by Will Crumly with 18 points and 15 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Chris Barnette chipped in with 17 points and a team-high four assists.
Zack Allen pitched in with 13 points to round out the double-digit scorers for the Scots.
Covenant opened up the game with a, 9-2, run before the Panthers came back and took a, 19-18, lead with 8:51 left in the first.
The Scots were able to regain the lead on an Allen 3-pointer with 6:29 remaining in the half and the teams traded buckets as the Scots took a, 35-30, advantage into the locker room.
Coming out of the break, Covenant stretched their lead with a, 7-2, run. The Scots gained their largest lead of the night with an eight-point spurt to take a 53-38 lead before the Panther surge.
The Scots shot 49.1 percent (27-for-55) from the floor and went 10-for-25 (40 percent) from 3-point range.
Birmingham Southern (0-1) went 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) overall but a cold 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) from behind the arc.
Panther free throws kept them in the game as they shot 13-for-16 (81.3 percent) from the line.
Covenant posted 12 assists on 27 made buckets and forced the Panther offense into 16 turnovers.
The Scots were outrebounded 32-31 in the contest.
Covenant takes on the Sewanee Tigers for their first true road game to wrap up the Lon Varnell Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern/5 p.m. central.