Falcons win NCAA tournament opener

University of Montevallo senior guard D.J. Rivera signals a play in the Falcons' 96-87 win over Barton College in their NCAA Division II tournament opener in the Southeast Region quarterfinals March 10. (Contributed/Michael Wade)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

University of Montevallo senior D.J. Rivera has his eyes set on the school record book after leading the Falcons to a 96-87 win over Barton College in their opening game of the NCAA Division II tournament, the Southeast Region tournament quarterfinals March 10 at Bank Trust Arena.

Rivera led the top-seeded Falcons with 33 points in the win over the Bulldogs, the 2007 NCAA Division II national champions, leaving him 31 points shy of the school record for points in a single season.

“It was a rough one today,” Rivera said. “I’m just glad we pulled it out.”

Rivera will try to become the school’s single-season scoring leader in the Southeast Region tournament semifinals March 11 against No. 4 seed Lincoln Memorial in the quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m., approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first semifinal between No. 3 seed Anderson University and No. 7 seed Wingate University.

Rivera, who knocked down 11-of-17 field goals, including 3-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc, made only 8-of-18 free throws. Rivera also finished with seven rebounds and three steals.

Antoine Davis added 21 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win. Drico Hightower contributed 10 points, three boards and two assists.

Marvin Fitzgerald and DeMarcus Catchings chipped in nine points each. Fitzgerald grabbed six rebounds, while Catchings pulled down seven boards. Jonas Brown finished with eight points and three rebounds.

Travis DeShazior added four points, while Ryan May finished with two points in the victory.