Falcons edge Braves in conference contest

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team remained unbeaten in Peach Belt Conference play thanks to a pair of huge performances from junior Jonas Brown and senior D.J. Rivera in a 74-69 road victory Jan. 7 at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Brown and Rivera combined for 46 of the Falcons’ 74 points in the win.

Brown had a career day as he scored 29 points, grabbed six boards and made four steals. Brown was 11-of-13 from the field, which tied him for fourth in the Montevallo record book for field-goal percentage in a game with a minimum of 10 attempts. Brown tied Tauras Dortch (200-2010), who was 11-of-13 from the floor against Lynn in 2009.

Brown also tied for sixth in the Montevallo record book for 3-point field goal percentage with a minimum of five made. He was 5-of-6 from 3-point range, which tied him with Daryl Worthy, who was 5-of-6 from the field against North Alabama in 1999.

Rivera had 17 points and three assists. He was 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Senior DeMarcus Catchings led the team in rebounding with 11 boards, while Brown was second with his six rebounds.

The Falcons (12-2 overall, 3-0 in Peach Belt Conference) shot 47.9 percent from the field, including 56.5 percent in the second half. Montevallo was even better from 3-point range, where the Falcons hit 8-of-14 field goals, good for 57.1 percent. The Falcons were a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half. The free throw struggles continued as Montevallo hit just 52.6 percent from the charity stripe.

The Braves shot 50 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. UNC-Pembroke was not much better at the free-throw stripe, hitting 65 percent from the charity stripe.

Shahmel Brackett led the Braves with 20 points and five rebounds, while K.J. Cooper had 13.

The Barves led almost the entire first half, but they would only lead by a few points throughout the period. Their biggest lead was seven points at the 11:26 mark of the first half. Montevallo battled back to take a two-point lead on a Drico Hightower lay-up with 8:30 to play. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch, with UNC-Pembroke taking a 29-26 lead into the halftime break.

UNC-Pembroke quickly extended its lead to five points in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Falcons would battle back and take their first lead of the second half on a Rivera free throw with 16:44 to play. The two teams once again began to trade baskets with the Falcons getting the better of the Braves and taking a slim lead.

With 7:49 left in the game and the Falcons up by three points, the Braves began a 6-0 run to take a three-point lead of their own. Back-to-back lay-ups gave the lead right back to the Falcons and again the trading of baskets continued. With Montevallo’s lead down to just one point with two minutes to play, Brown and Rivera hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take a seven-point lead with just under 1:20 to go. Montevallo would hit the free throws down the stretch to hang on for the 74-69 victory.

The Falcons will return to action Monday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. as they travel to Francis Marion University for another Peach Belt Conference contest.