Good to see Falcons flying on the big stage [COLUMN]

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

It’s pretty safe to say that next to high school sports, collegiate sports reign supreme in this state and this county. Everyone has a particular school they pull for, and most of the college fanaticism comes to fruition this time of year — usually due to football.

I’m no different; I have a particular school I’m a fan of, although it’s not exactly known for its football prowess.

I am quite fond of the University of Montevallo’s athletic endeavors, particularly those of the basketball kind; I was there in Highland Heights, Ky., when the Falcons fell short of the D-II national title in 2012. The return trip was one of the most painful experiences in sports I’ve ever dealt with.

You can imagine my elation last week when I tuned in to see the Falcons taking on the pinnacle of collegiate basketball power, the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Now, by all accounts, there was no way Montevallo was going to win the game. None. Kentucky has the best facilities, incredible tradition and a huge fan base. By all accounts, Kentucky is to basketball what Alabama is to football.

I think all anyone that was pulling for Montevallo was hoping for was that the Falcons would keep it respectable — and did they ever.

After opening with a 9-2 run to start the game, Montevallo was leading the preseason No. 1 basketball team in all of the NCAA in Rupp Arena, one of the cathedrals of college basketball.

The lead didn’t last, but Montevallo never ceded the fight. Just as it looked like UK was getting ready to swing the knockout punch, Montevallo came back with a haymaker of its own. The Falcons only trailed by 11 at half.

The final score looks like UK handled Montevallo pretty easily, but those who watched — including some antsy UK fans — got a chance to see a scrappy team that could do some damage in D-II play this year.
To quote a good friend and fellow proud UM alumni, “Let us never forget the minutes that the Montevallo Falcons were beating the Kentucky Wildcats.”

I know I won’t anytime soon.