Montevallo holds off Georgia Southwestern in men’s basketball thriller


AMERICUS, Ga. – The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team turned up its defensive intensity on the final possession to hold off Georgia Southwestern State University in a 58-57 win over the Hurricanes in a Peach Belt Conference contest Jan. 16.

The Falcons applied pressure on the Hurricanes beyond the arc, which limited Georgia Southwestern from getting a clean look at the basket in the game’s final seconds and sealed the Falcons’ come-from-behind victory in a game that saw Montevallo jump out to a 17-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes.

Senior Drico Hightower scored the game-winning basket with 2:41 remaining in the game as neither team could add any points on the scoreboard in the final minutes.

Hightower led the Falcons (9-5 overall, 5-2 in Peach Belt Conference) with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor. Hightower also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out two assists.

Troran Brown added 13 points, while senior Marvin Fitzgerald and sophomore Ryan May chipped in eight points each in the victory. Senior Travis DeShazior, in the starting lineup for the first time this season in place of injured senior guard Jonas Brown, finished with three points and a team-high five assists.

Junior Silas Mills contributed three points and senior Danny Cummins finished with one point off the bench.

The Falcons opened the game with a 17-0 run in the first five minutes of the contest. Hightower drained a jumper, his third field goal in the opening minutes, with 15:13 remaining in the first half to cap the impressive scoring run.

The Hurricanes cut the deficit to single digits midway through the opening half before Montevallo pushed its lead back to 14 points heading into the break at halftime. Troran Brown drained a 3-pointer with 53  seconds left in the half to give the Falcons a 16-point lead before a basket by Georgia Southwestern at the buzzer cut the Montevallo lead to 34-20 at halftime.

A layup by Hightower with 18:31 left in the game again pushed the Falcons’ lead to 16 points before Georgia Southwestern attempted a comeback. A jumper by Jamon Hawkins with 9:07 remaining gave the Hurricanes a 47-45 advantage, their first lead in the second half.

Georgia Southwestern led by as many as six points late in the second half before Montevallo closed the game with a 9-2 run, capped with Hightower’s game-winning jumper with 2:41 remaining. DeShazior had a chance to give the Falcons breathing room in the final minute, but he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 attempt with 21 seconds left in the game.

Montevallo returns to action Saturday, Jan. 19 with a Peach Belt Conference contest against Francis Marion University at BankTrust Arena. Tip off is set for 3:30 p.m.