UM falls in quarterfinals

Montevallo&8217;s second run at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight came to an end last Wednesday as Central Missouri defeated the Falcons 86-69 in the national quarterfinals in Springfield, Mass.

The UCM Mules scored five of their seven 3-point baskets for the game in the first half, while scoring 17 points off eight Falcon turnovers, to help set the pace early.

&8220;That&8217;s happened to us the last few games, but we were able to get lucky. Central Missouri really made us pay by not coming out and setting the pace and playing into their game,&8221; said Montevallo all-time leading scorer Marcus Kennedy, who finished with 21 points.

The Falcons led on two separate occasions in the first half for a total length of seven minutes. Their largest lead of the night was five points, 28-23, with 8:13 to play in the half, but the Mules went on a 9-2 run over the next five minutes to go up by five points, 37-32, on their way to a 44-39 halftime lead.

The run in the final minutes of the half charged the Mules to score eight unanswered points to start the second half and take a 13-point lead, 52-39. The lead remained in double figures the rest of the way and reached 23 points, 77-54, on a dunk by Zack Wright with 6:17 to play. Wright finished with a game-high 24 points.

&8220;We just never recovered from (their 8-0 run). We came out flat in the second half and just never matched their intensity,&8221; said Greg Brown, who scored 19 to end his two-year career as the Falcons&8217; fifth leading scorer all-time.

The Falcons close the season with their best finish in program history, a school record-tying 29-6 record, third Gulf South Conference tournament championship and second-straight NCAA South Region championship. They won 29 games last season, but did not win the GSC Tournament.

&8220;Everybody was thinking we weren&8217;t going to be as good as we were last year, but I think we were able to show everybody that we were able to be as good if not better than last year&8217;s team,&8221; Kennedy said