Falcons prepare for NCAA tournament

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team is headed to its sixth NCAA Division II tournament in the past eight seasons this weekend as they travel to Augusta State University in Augusta, Ga., to take part in the Southeast Region tournament.

The Falcons (18-10) will face Georgia Southwestern State University (20-8) in the first round March 12 at 11 a.m.

The Falcons head into the tournament with a 12-5 record all-time in NCAA Division II tournament action.

The Falcons first appeared in the NCAA postseason in 2004 in head coach Danny Young’s first season at the helm when they went 2-1 and fell in the South Region final. Montevallo traveled to Valdosta, Ga., to take part in the South Region tournament and opened up the regional with an upset win over host Valdosta State University, 56-49. Montevallo then took down Henderson State University, 78-57. The regional final pitted the Falcons against Rollins College, where Montevallo fell 75-63.

Montevallo returned to the NCAA tournament the next season as they hosted the South Regional. The Falcons opened the tournament with a 74-48 dominating win over Barry University. The Falcons then took on Eckerd College and won 65-62. Montevallo’s season came to an end in the South Region final once again as they fell to Lynn University, 67-54.

The Falcons third-straight trip to the NCAA tournament came in 2006 as they traveled to Cleveland, Miss., to compete in their third NCAA South Region tournament. Montevallo opened up the tournament with a 69-59 win over Benedict College. The Falcons then faced Rollins in the semifinals and won 81-68. Montevallo defeated Arkansas-Monticello 89-86 in overtime and overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half in the regional final.

Montevallo earned a its first ever trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight following the South Region tournament in 2006. The Falcons fell to Seattle Pacific 79-65 in the Elite Eight.

Montevallo’s fourth trip to the NCAA tournament came in 2007. The Falcons hosted the South Region tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight for the second-straight year in dramatic fashion.

Montevallo opened up the tournament with a 78-62 victory over Albany State. The Falcons then went to overtime with Henderson State and won 66-52 in the region tournament semifinals, but the most dramatic game was saved for last.

A near half court shot by Marcus Kennedy went through the net at the buzzer to lift Montevallo to a 64-61 victory over Eckerd College in the championship game of the 2007 South Regional. The shot was featured on ESPN as the No. 2 play in the network’s Top 10 Plays of the Day.

Montevallo’s dream trip came to an end in the Elite Eight, as Central Missouri handed the Falcons a 86-69 loss.

The Falcons most recent trip to the tournament was last season, as they were selected as the No. 7 seed in the Southeast Region. It was the Falcons first season in the Southeast Region and first trip to the Southeast Regional.

The Falcons upset No. 2 seed Mount Olive in the first round, 84-70. Montevallo then took on Peach Belt Conference opponent USC-Aiken and won 88-71 to advance to their fifth NCAA regional final. The Falcons fell to Augusta State 79-71 on the back of a 22-7 advantage at the free-throw line by the Jaguars.

This will be the Falcons second trip to the Southeast Region tournament. The Falcons have never lost a first or second round game in the NCAA tournament.

Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door. Tickets are $10 per session. The Falcons play in the first session on day one.