Falcons win third GSC tournament

For the third time in four years, Danny Young has led the University of Montevallo basketball team to a Gulf South Conference tournament championship title.

&8220;This thing has had to come through us for the last four years and we really felt that it was ours and someone had to take it from us,&8221; Young said.

After losing their first GSC tournament game in Young&8217;s tenure, 71-67, to Delta State University in last year&8217;s championship, the Falcons rallied to sweep through this season&8217;s tournament with a 64-52 championship win over Henderson State University in Southaven, Miss. Sunday.

&8220;We were supposed to win it last year, but Delta State was loaded with talent. Losing it motivated us more to come back this year and win the whole thing,&8221; point guard Grant Urbanski said.

The Falcons and Reddies battled to a 6-6 tie in the first four-and-a-half minutes of play, before UM sparked an 8-0 run to pull ahead for the lead, which grew to as many as 14 points in the first half. They entered the locker room at halftime, up 32-24 with Henderson State on a 5-0 run.

&8220;We&8217;d seen them come back from being down at halftime two nights in a row. We knew we&8217;d need to come out from halftime not flat, but we came out flat,&8221; senior guard Greg Brown said.

The Reddies posted a 24-12 run in the first eight minutes of the half to take the lead for the first time and grow it to four points, 48-44.

UM took advantage of being on television to rest their players and regroup to counter the Reddies&8217; attack.

&8220;I think maybe we got a little tired, but we continued to fight and took those little two minute media timeouts, which were the longest thing ever, but I think that helped us a little bit down the stretch,&8221; Young said.

Brown, who finished with 19 points, drove to the basket with 6:33 remaining in the game to hit a lay-up and draw a foul, cutting the lead to 52-51. He hit his free throw to tie it. Marcus Kennedy followed with a basket to regain the lead.

Moments later, after a turnover by the Reddies&8217; Dee Dee Drake, Bud Howard drained a 3-point basket with the shot clock winding down to extend the lead to 57-52.

&8220;That was huge, because through out the whole year, when it comes down to the end of the game, it comes down to me or Marcus taking or making a big shot. We always tell our guys we believe in our guys and that we have confidence in them. We always tell them to be ready and tonight Bud was ready,&8221; Brown said.

Kennedy, who led the team with 22 points in the game, also elaborated on the importance of the shot that helped feed a 14-0 final run to the buzzer by the Falcons.

&8220;I think the reason that shot was so big was because Henderson State was playing such good defense and there&8217;s nothing more frustrating than playing great defense and somebody else hitting a real difficult shot,&8221; Kennedy said.

UM (25-5) now hosts seven teams in the NCAA Division II South Regional men&8217;s basketball tournament March 9-12. For details visit www.montevallo.edu/athletics