The Averett University Cougars out-paced the Maryville College men's basketball squad 15-8 in the final three minutes to earn a tough 87-80 USA South victory to cap the league regular season schedule in Danville, Virginia on Saturday afternoon.
The host Cougars blistered the nets in the first half hitting 54% from the floor (15-for28) while also dropping six treys and hitting 9-of-10 free throws. MC tried to keep pace with a 43% effort from beyond the arc (6-for-14) but only connected on 38% of their shots from the floor (11-for-29). Averett was paced by James Contreras Jr.'s 13 points while the Scots used a 12-point effort by Jay Bowyer to move to the intermission trailing 45-38.
A Dante Hoppa three-pointer with five-minute remaining in the final period gave MC their last lead at 72-69. Averett's Jamal Forde flushed a trey at the 3:49 mark to tie the challenge at 72 before the Cougars went on their final run to secure the victory. Maryville's Calvin Songster deposited a dozen points in the final period, but Averett kept pace with Contreras' 15 points and T.J. McAllister's 11 in the closing stanza. Both teams closed the game dropping 42 points and shooting 44% from the floor, but the Cougars out-worked MC on the boards with a 21-12 advantage.
Averett (11-14, 9-5 USA South) was led to victory by James Contreras Jr.'s 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Charles Bryant finished with a double-double behind 10 points and 13 rebounds. T.J. McAllister added 13 on 4-of-7 shooting.
Maryville (19-6, 9-5 USA South) fell despite a 22-point effort by Calvin Songster. Songster was 6-for-12 on the afternoon while dropping 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Jay Bowyer finished with 14 points while Dante Hoppa added 11 off the bench.
The Scots will now await the seeding for the 2017 USA South men's basketball tournament. The tournament will begin next Thursday at the No.1 seeded institution.