Falcons fall to Barton College in NCAA tournament opener
FROM STAFF REPORTS
AIKEN, S.C. – The University of Montevallo men’s basketball team fell to Barton College 81-73 in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region tournament quarterfinals March 16 at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.
The Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from beyond the arc and finished 17-of-20 at the charity stripe. Meanwhile, the sixth-seeded Falcons shot just 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from beyond the arc, their second-lowest percentage of the season.
“We missed wide open layups,” said Montevallo men’s basketball coach Danny Young. “We missed wide open 3-pointers. I think it was just one of those days. It was a bad time to play bad.”
Sophomore Troran Brown led the Falcons (20-10) with 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Brown also grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and finished with three steals.
Barton College senior Gerald Boston, one of the leading scorers nationally in NCAA Division II, led the Bulldogs (22-7) with 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the floor, 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and 8-of-9 shooting from the charity stripe.
Freshman Chris Flemings added 15 points after knocking down five 3-pointers in the second half.
The Falcons took an early 2-0 lead when May scored the game’s opening basket 30 seconds into the first half.
Barton responded with a 11-4 run to take a 11-6 lead following a 3-pointer by Aaron Brown with 14:30 in the opening half.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to as many as 11 points late in the first half following a layup by Trey Lofton, which gave Barton a 26-15 lead with 5:39 remaining in the first half.
The Falcons answered with a 17-6 run to take their first lead since the game’s opening minute. DeShazior converted a three-point play with 1:42 left in the half to give Montevallo a 32-31 advantage.
Troran Brown made a jumper with 43 seconds remaining to give the Falcons a 36-34 lead before Boston made a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the half to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a one-point lead.
The Falcons shot 55 percent from the floor (16-of-29) in the first half, but the Bulldogs knocked down 9-of-11 free throws compared to the Falcons’ 1-of-1 shooting from the charity stripe. Boston finished with 24 points in the opening half.
Barton took a 44-40 lead early in the second half following a 3-pointer by Boston with 17:21 remaining in the game.
The Falcons responded with a 4-0 run following a jumper by Hightower and a steal and fastbreak basket by Fitzgerald with just more than 16 minutes remaining in the half. The game would remain a one possession game for the next 10 minutes.
Hightower gave the Falcons a 46-44 lead following a layup with 15:27 left in the game. The Bulldogs took a 50-48 lead following a 3-pointer by Jon Hart just more than one minute later.
Troran Brown gave the Falcons their largest lead in the second half, 53-50, after draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12:20 left in the game.
Chris Flemings drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 7:29 remaining in the game to give Barton a 62-58 lead. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 70-60, their first double-digit lead in the second half, following another 3-pointer from the opposite corner by Flemings with 5:51 remaining.
Montevallo trimmed the deficit to 70-64 following a 4-0 run on a pair of free throws by Fitzgerald and an offensive rebound and putback by Mills with 4:28 left in the game. DeShazior knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:38 remaining to cut the deficit to 70-67.
Jonas Brown cut the deficit to 70-68 with 2:53 left after knocking down the front end of a 1-and-1. However, Brown was called for a flagrant foul and Boston stepped to the line to push the Bulldogs’ lead back to 72-68.
Fitzgerald scored a basket on a putback with just more than two minutes remaining to cut the deficit to 72-70. Flemings drained a 3-pointer on the other end to push the Bulldogs’ lead back to 75-70.
Brown knocked down 1-of-2 free throws with 1:34 left in the game, but Hart added a pair of free throws on the other end to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 77-71 with one minute remaining in the game.
The Falcons missed a pair of 3-pointers before Brown sank a floater on the baseline to cut the deficit to 77-73, but the Bulldogs’ Brian McNair added a pair of free throws on the other end to push the lead back to six points.
The Bulldogs finished 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.