Falcons down Hurricanes in conference opener

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team upset No. 12 Georgia Southwestern State University 66-60 in the Peach Belt Conference opener for both teams Dec. 3.

The Falcons (7-1 overall, 1-0 in Peach Belt Conference) trailed for most of the first half, but a late run to end the half gave Montevallo a 32-27 halftime lead, which the Falcons would never relinquish.

Senior D.J. Rivera led the Falcons with 27 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Rivera was 9-of-13 from the field, including going 2-for-2 from 3-point range. He also hit 7-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Junior Drico Hightower scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in just 12 minutes of action to finish second in scoring. Junior Marvin Fitzgerald chipped in nine points, a team-leading eight boards and three assists off the bench. Senior Jervan Jackson continued his season-long block party as he swatted four Georgia Southwestern State shots.

Freshman Ryan May and junior Jonas Brown each added eight points. May also had five rebounds and three assists.

The Falcons shot 39.6 percent from the field, including hitting 54.5 percent from 3-point range. The Hurricanes outshot the Falcons as they hit 41.5 percent from the field, but they only mustered 15.4 percent from 3-point range.

Montevallo out-rebounded Georgia Southwestern 38-24 and used that advantage to score 17 second-chance points.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the opening three minutes, but the Falcons responded with an 8-0 run to take a 9-6 lead. Both teams traded baskets throughout the first half, but with 6:32 left in the first half and the Falcons trailing 22-19, Montevallo went on a 13-2 run to take a 32-24 lead with 1:36 left in the period. A Philip Brown dunk and free throw cut the lead to five points heading into the halftime break.

The Falcons flew out of the gates in the second half quickly building a double-digit lead, but with 7:12 left in the game and the Falcons up by 10 points, the Hurricanes began to whittle away at the lead. The Hurricanes were able to get the deficit down to two points on four different occasions, but the Falcons would not falter as they held onto to lead and eventually built it up to six points as time expired.

The Falcons will return to action Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. as they host Columbus State University in another Peach Belt Conference contest.