Five Starters in Double Figures, But Covenant Beats Berry 77-74
Whalen and Graham Record Double-Doubles for Berry, But Vikings Fall in Opener
Berry, which played just eight players in the game - all of but one of which stands 6-foot-2 or under - led for most of the first half. The Vikings would take a 37-34 lead into the intermission when Whalen nailed three free throws after he was fouled while attempting a 3-point shot just before the buzzer.
The teams would trade the lead a couple times in the first three minutes of the second half before Covenant's Callum Sears scored on a jumper in the paint with 16:54 remaining to put the Scots ahead 40-39. They would lead the rest of the night.
Covenant extended its lead to 11 points when Colton McGriff converted a layup that made the score 62-51 with 8:03 remaining, but the Vikings answered with an 8-0 run that cut the deficit to three points with just under six minutes to play.
But the Scots would again put some distance ahead between themselves and Berry, going ahead 70-62 before the Vikes clawed back to within three points at 75-72 with under two minutes to play.
Sears would hit one of two free throws with 1:50 to go to make the score 76-72, and that score held until the final 30 seconds. The Vikings were unable to convert on three offensive possessions and were forced to put the Scots on the free throw line after each missed opportunity.
The Scots missed from the line on their first three charity shots before TJ Cox finally put one in with seven seconds to play. He missed the second of two shots and Hunter Smoak went the length of the floor to pull the Vikings back to within three points with under two seconds left, but it was too little, too late.
All five Berry starters scored in double figures. Whalen finished with a team high 16 points and 15 rebounds for Berry, while Graham added 14 points and 11 boards.
Nasser Almulla scored 14 points in his collegiate debut, while Michael Schulthe and Hunter Smoak chipped in 10 points apiece.
Smoak dished out a game high four assists.
Jon DeVries scored a game high 17 points for the Scots.
Berry is scheduled to return to action Saturday vs. the University of the Ozarks in a tournament hosted by Birmingham-Southern.
- BerryVikings.com -