Montevallo tames Cougars in conference victory

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team remained perfect in Peach Belt Conference play following a 64-58 victory Dec. 6 over visiting Columbus State University.

The Falcons (8-1 overall, 2-0 in Peach Belt Conference) led by as much as 18 points in the second half, but a late run by the Cougars made for an exciting finish.

Senior D.J. Rivera led the way with 27 points, five boards and two steals. He was 11-of-15 from the floor, while hitting 4-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Junior Jonas Brown added 14 points, three rebounds, a pair of assists and two steals. He was 3-of-9 from the floor, but hit 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.

Junior Drico Hightower came up just short of a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.

The Falcons dominated in the paint, outscoring Columbus State 26-12. Montevallo shot 43.5 percent from the field, but struggled from the free-throw line hitting just 65.5 percent. The Cougars hit just 23.3 percent from the field in the first half, but improved to 37 percent in the second half. They also hit 71.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Montevallo held a slim lead for most of the first half, but with 5:30 left in the period and leading 20-19, the Falcons went on a 10-2 run to take a nine-point lead with 2:08 remaining. After a Columbus State free throw and a Rivera lay up, Idell Bell hit a half-court shot as the buzzer sounded to cut the Falcons lead to seven, 32-25, at the half.

Still up by seven points with 15:51 left in the game, the Falcons went on a 12-1 run to take a 52-34 lead with 8:37 remaining. Columbus State responded with a 17-2 run to cut the Falcons lead to just three points with 5:22 left to play. Brown immediately hit a 3-pointer to put the Falcons back up by six points and the lead would remain around the six-point mark the rest of the way as the Falcons hit clutch free throws down the stretch.

The Falcons will return to action Saturday, Dec. 10 at 3:30 p.m. as they host Miles College in a non-conference game.