PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of Montevallo men's basketball team (9-2) faced its second ranked opponent of the season in the form of #25 Arkansas Tech University (7-1) but unfortunately for the Falcons the second time was not as good as the first. The Wonder Boys pulled away in the second half and a late UM rally fell short as ATU won 81-73. UM was led by senior D.J. Rivera (Philadelphia, Pa./Binghamton University) who made it five-straight games with at least 25 points. Rivera scored 25 with five rebounds and a pair of steals. Junior Jonas Brown (Tifton, Ga./Tift County) added 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
Senior DeMarcus Catchings (Arlington, Texas/Cedar Valley College), senior Chauncey Thompson (Chattanooga, Tenn./Cleveland State) and junior Marvin Fitzgerald (Milwaukee, Wisc./North Carolina Central) all added seven points.
The Falcons shot 37.7 percent from the field and a dismal 25 percent from three-point range. UM continued to struggle from the free throw line connecting on just 59.1 percent from the charity stripe. The Wonder Boys shot 53.8 percent from the field including 65.2 percent in the second half. The also hit 50 percent from three-point range including 7-of-10 in the second half. ATU also struggled from the free throw line hitting just 55.6 percent.
UM forced 24 Wonder Boy turnovers and used that to take a 25-10 lead in points off turnovers. UM also out-rebounded ATU 42-39 and had a 18-9 advantage in second chance points.
UM and ATU traded the lead throughout the first half with neither team taking no more than a five point advantage. The first half would end with both teams tied at 32.
With the game tied at 37 and with 17:29 left on the clock the Wonder Boys went on a 12-0 run to open the game up. ATU would hold a double-digit lead for almost the entire second half. The lead grew to as much as 20 points with just 3:09 to play but the Falcons used a furious 15-3 run in the closing three minutes to cut the lead to just eight as time expired. UM just ran out of time as the Wonder Boys hit almost every shot they took in the second half.
The Falcons will try and rebound from the loss with a game against Arkansas Fort Smith tomorrow at 4 p.m. Both the ATU and AFS games are part of the University of West Florida Holiday Tournament.