Falcons survive scare against Bearcats in conference victory

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The 20th-ranked University of Montevallo men’s basketball team jumped all over the Bearcats of Lander University (9-4, 3-3 PBC) in the first half, but a second-half run kept things interesting as the Falcons survived 77-67 in a Peach Belt Conference contest Jan. 14.

Seniors D.J. Rivera and DeMarcus Catchings led the team with 22 and 21 points, respectively. Catchings added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Rivera led the team with four steals and added three assists.

Catchings was once again very efficient as he hit 9-of-11 shots from the field and was a perfect 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. Freshman Ryan May added 13 points and a team-high four assists, while junior Jonas Brown had 11 points and four boards.

The Falcons (13-3 overall, 4-1 in Peach Belt Conference) outrebounded the Bearcats 36-23 and took advantage of the Bearcats’ turnovers, outscoring Lander 26-18 in points off turnovers. Montevallo shot 50.9 percent from the field, while Lander shot an even 48 percent. Montevallo continued to struggle from the free-throw line, hitting just 68 percent of their shots while Lander hit 73.7 percent.

Montevallo jumped all over the Bearcats in the opening minutes as the Falcons took a 16-5 lead over the opening four minutes and had a pair of breakaway dunks. Montevallo would lead by 10 most of the first half but a pair of free throws by the Bearcats cut the lead to 41-32 as time expired in the first half.

A 14-6 run by the Bearcats to open the second half cut Montevallo’s lead to just one point with 14:51 left in the game. Lander eventually took the lead at the 12:49 mark on a pair of free throws by Dwight Tolbert. Montevallo quickly retook the lead at the 11:13 mark on a pair of free throws by Rivera. Montevallo would never trail again as an 8-2 run over the final 2:43 gave the Falcons a 77-67 victory.

The Falcons will return to action Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. as they travel to Armstrong Atlantic State University for another Peach Belt Conference contest.