Montevallo falters on road against Pirates

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team struggled offensively as the Falcons fell on the road at Armstrong Atlantic State University, 79-75, in a Peach Belt Conference contest Jan. 19.

The Falcons (13-4 overall, 4-2 in Peach Belt Conference) shot just 37.1 percent from the field while turning the ball over 22 times and making just six assists.

Senior D.J. Rivera led the Falcons with 26 points, six steals and six rebounds, but shot just 25.9 percent from the field. Junior Marvin Fitzgerald had 13 points and five rebounds while going 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Senior Antoine Davis made his much-anticipated return to the court, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards in 19 minutes of action.

Montevallo improved its shooting from the free-throw line, hitting 76.5 percent of its attempts. The Pirates shot 48.8 percent from the field and 75.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Falcons dominated the glass, outrebounding the Pirates 45-24.

The Falcons outscored the Pirates in almost every facet of the game, including in the paint, off turnovers, second0-chance points and bench points, but in the end it was not enough as the Pirates came away with the victory.

Armstrong opened the game on a 14-3 run and looked to be on its way to victory, but an 8-0 run by the Falcons cut the lead to just three points. Montevallo eventually tied the game at the 10-minute mark on a jumper from Rivera. The Falcons then found themselves down four points with 6:07 to play in the period, but responded with an 11-0 run to take a five-point lead.

The Pirates were able to cut the lead to just one point with 25 seconds left in the period. A pair of Fitzgerald free throws put Montevallo back up by three points, but a leaning bank-shot 3-pointer by the Pirates tied the game at 37-37 heading into the halftime break.

The Pirates slowly worked their way into the lead in the second half and eventually amassed an 8-point advantage with 12:46 to play. With 11:11 left to play and Montevallo down by eight, the Falcons began a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just one point with 9:41 left.

Armstrong quickly regained a 4-point lead, but that was immediately answered by a 9-0 run by the Falcons to give Montevallo a 63-58 lead with 6:56 remaining. The Pirates then took the lead back on a jumper at the 3:35 mark and built up another 4-point lead. A 3-pointer by Rivera with 2:14 to play gave Montevallo a one-point advantage, but once again it was answered by a 5-0 run from the Pirates to take another 4-point lead.

Another 3-pointer by Rivera cut the lead back to one point with 26 seconds left in the game. The Falcons immediately fouled and the Pirates made just 1-of-2 free throws. Montevallo rebounded the ball and pushed it up court, but a mental error by the visitors turned the ball over to the Pirates, who eventually made their free throws down the stretch.

The Falcons will return to action Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m. as they travel to Flagler College for another Peach Belt Conference contest.