MONTEAVALLO, Ala.- The Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes have taken care of business throughout the non-conference portion of their schedule to open the 2011-12 season. Saturday's match-up at the University of Montevallo gave GSW a great opportunity to open conference play with a quality win. That opportunity passed the Hurricanes by as they would lose to the Montevallo Falcons 66-60 on Saturday.
D.J. Rivera, the PBC's leading scorer, dropped 27 points in the victory and grabbed six rebounds. He was supported by Drico Hightower who chipped in ten points.
Montevallo out-rebounded the Hurricanes by 14 rebounds that gave the Falcons a 17-9 advantage in second chance points. GSW struggled shooting the ball going 17-41 (41.5%) from the field and an even worse 2-13 (15.4%) from beyond the arc. The Hurricanes did remedy their recent free throw shooting woes by converting 24 of their 33 attempts for 72.7%.
Georgia Southwestern trailed by five at the halftime break. They struggled in the second half's first nine minutes as Montevallo pushed the lead to 15 points. The Canes would cut the lead to as little as two points in the game's final minutes before dropping the six-point game.
Colin Slotter continued his stellar play off the bench as he finished with 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Second in scoring for the Blue & Gold was Phillip Brown with 15 points along with 16 rebounds.
A match-up of two teams with similar records provided a close game in the early going. After twelve minutes of play, the two teams were deadlocked at 17. GSW had scored twelve of its first 17 points in the paint, and Montevallo scored twelve of its first 17 from beyond the arc.
The Blue & Gold would go into halftime on the down side of a 15-7 Montevallo run. GSW would trail 32-27 to the Falcons, which marked the first time the Hurricanes had trailed at halftime this season. Georgia Southwestern was out-rebounded 23-11 and conceded eleven second chance points to the Falcons in the first half.
The Hurricanes were led in the first half by Phillip Brown who tallied eleven points and five rebounds. He was matched by Montevallo's only double-digit scorer in the first half, D.J. Rivera, who scored 15 points in the game's first 20 minutes.
What was a single-digit halftime lead was pushed to 14 points by Montevallo as they opened the half with a 12-3 run. The Hurricanes would cut that lead down to ten points before the Falcons pushed the lead back into the teens.
The Blue & Gold would get back into the game behind active hands. Numerous GSW steals cut a one-time 15-point Falcon lead to five points, which forced a Montevallo timeout with 5:16 left in the game. The Hurricanes held Montevallo to just seven points in an eight minute span, and they were fueled by 14 points from Colin Slotter during that span.
The Montevallo lead was at two points with 2:33 remaining when a D.J. Rivera tip-in off an offensive rebound would start a 4-0 run, which was answered with a Milos Kleut free throw and a fade away three-pointer by Evan Mobley. Trailing by two points with 39 seconds left, Montevallo would close the game out going four for four from the foul line to end the game.