Falcons win NCAA tournament opener

Published 8:25 pm Saturday, March 10, 2012

Montevallo, the top seed and host of the Southeast Region tournament, used a dominating 16-0 run midway through the first half to jump out to a commanding first-half lead against Barton College in the quarterfinal victory.

However, the Falcons had to hold on down the stretch in the second half as Barton College chipped away at the deficit. The Bulldogs cut a 20-point deficit in the first half to just five points late in the second half before the Falcons knocked down just enough free throws in the final minute to escape with the win.

Rivera, who scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor in the opening half, started the 16-0 scoring run in the first half with a layup and capped the run with a 3-pointer.

The Falcons jumped out to a 11-6 lead in the first four minutes following a quick 7-2 run, which included a 3-pointer and a layup by Rivera and a layup by Davis, which gave Montevallo a 5-point lead at the first media timeout with 15:54 left in the opening half.

Montevallo maintained a 5-point advantage midway through the first half following a pair of free throws and an offensive rebound and putback by Rivera, which gave the Falcons a 19-14 lead with 11:54 remaining at the second media timeout.

The Falcons extended their lead to double digits for the first time with 10:27 remaining in the first half following a layup by Catchings, which gave Montevallo a 24-14 advantage.

Rivera’s 3-pointer with 8:24 remaining in the first half capped an impressive 16-0 run by the Falcons, which gave Montevallo a 33-14 lead midway through the opening half. Barton College went 7:53 seconds without a field goal during the stretch.

Montevallo stretched its lead to 20 points for the first time just more than one minute later when Davis knocked down a free throw to give the Falcons a 34-14 lead.

Barton College went on a run late in the first half and cut the deficit to 12 points in the final minute of the opening half. Rivera’s 3-pointer from the wing with two defenders in his face bounced off the back of the rim at the first-half buzzer, leaving the Falcons with a 42-30 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.