Montevallo falls to USC-Aiken in overtime

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team dropped an overtime contest to No. 24 USC-Aiken, 71-65, in Peach Belt Conference action Jan. 26.

The Falcons (14-5 overall, 5-3 in Peach Belt Conference) trailed for most of the contest but kept the Pacers within their sights and used a late second half comeback to force overtime.

Despite the six-point margin the entire overtime period was a battle as late free throws gave the Pacers the edge. Montevallo was led by senior D.J. Rivera, who scored 19 points. Junior Marvin Fitzgerald added 11 points and 10 boards good for a double-double.

Seniors Antoine Davis and DeMarcus Catchings added eight points each. Davis led the team in assists with four.

The Falcons and Pacers both struggled offensively the entire night. UM shot 42.6 percent from the field and a dismal 8.3 percent from three-point range. The Pacers hit 41.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range. The biggest struggles came at the free throw line where the Falcons hit just 54.5 percent and the Pacers connected on 62.5 percent. The difference came in the overtime period where the Pacers connected on 8-of-10 from the charity stripe despite coming into the period hitting just 17-of-20 in the game.

Both teams traded baskets over the opening 15 minutes. The Pacers used a small run to extend an eight-point lead with 4:55 left in the first but the Falcons quickly reeled them back in to tie the game at32 with 29 second left. A three-pointer with five seconds left on the clock gave the Pacers a 35-32 halftime lead.

The Pacers led for almost the entire second half but could never shake the Falcons. UM eventually fought their way back into the game behind a boisterous crowd and stingy defense. With 1:51 left in the period a pair of free throws by Davis gave the Falcons a 61-59 lead. After a missed USCA three-point attempt the Falcons found themselves at the free throw line with a chance to take a four-point advantage with just 55 seconds left in the game. UM missed the first and second but an offensive rebound by Davis gave UM the possession. The Pacer defense forced a turnover with 24 seconds left on the clock and a jumper tied the game with 18 ticks remaining. UM’s offensive possession came up short as the game headed to overtime.

The Pacers outscored the Falcons 10-4 in the overtime period with eight of the 10 points coming at the free throw line. UM shot just 33.3 percent from the field in overtime and was 0-3 from three point range and 0-4 from the free throw line.

The Falcons will return to action Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3:30 p.m. as they host Peach Belt Conference rival Augusta State University.