Montevallo Downs Metro State; Advances to Final Four!
Antoine Davis scored a team-high 18 points, including five of Montevallo's final seven, as the Falcons rallied to beat Metropolitan State 67-65 in the first round of the NCAA Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Ky., on Wednesday night. The Falcons trailed by as many as eight with under six minutes to play and by six sith 2:40 to go before ending the game on an 11-3 run.
With that win, Montevallo advances to the Final Four where they will meet defending national champion Bellarmine on Thursday at 9:30 pm. Bellarmine advanced to the semifinals after beating Alabama-Huntsville 82-73.
Metro State led 62-56 with 2:40 on the clock following two free throws from Demetrius Miller. Montevallo answered with a layup from Drico Hightower followed by a Davis steal, one of 10 UM steals in the game. D.J. Rivera was then fouled and sank both free throws to cut the lead to two with 1:54 to play.
Following a missed three from Metro, Montevallo took the lead for the first time since the 19:04 mark of the second half as Davis connected on a wild running layup and was fouled. He sank the free throw to complete the three-point play and put UM up 63-62.
Metro State, the top seed in the central division, tied it again on a free throw, but Hightower again found success down low for another two-point lead. Metro answered again as Jonathan Morse connected on a layup with 13 seconds left to tie the game at 65.
On UM's next possession, Davis drew the whistle driving down the right side of the lane. He calmly sank both free throws with three seconds on the clock. Metro had one last chance but Rivera had a steal to end the game.
“It’s what I’d been waiting for, man,” Davis said. “I had been struggling the whole game at the free throw line. I was trying to concentrate and make sure I made these for my team. They were looking for me to step up. I’m a senior, so I’m glad they fell my way.”
Davis finished the contest with 18 points, hitting seven of 11 from the field. He came close to triple-double town as he added 11 assists and seven rebounds. Rivera added 14 points and tied with Davis for the team lead with seven rebounds. Hightower scored 11 while Ryan May added 10.
“It still was a struggle because we couldn’t get over that hump,” Davis said. “We’d get it to one point or two points and they’d come down and make a 3. That hurts you a little bit, but we stuck together as a team and played hard.”
Reggie Evans led Metro State with 20 points while Miller added 16 and Paul Brotherson came off the bench to score 13 and grab a game-high 12 boards. The Roadrunners struggled with their shot, hitting 23 of 62 (.371) for the game and only seven of 24 (.292) from long range. Montevallo hit 47% (26-55) from the field and six of 15 three-pointers, but struggled at the free throw line with only nine makes in 16 attempts.
“Our guys played good,” Montevallo head coach Danny Young said. “I thought we battled hard all night long. It just seemed to be 1-5 points and we couldn’t get over the hump it seemed until the very end right there.”
Metro State held the rebounding edge 38-35 but dominated with 21 offensive rebounds, leading to a 26-11 edge in second-chance points. Montevallo answered with a 38-28 margin in points in the paint.
The Roadrunners started the game down 5-0 after two quick field
goals by the Falcons, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Miller tied
the game at 8-8 just under three minutes into the game.
Trailing 14-13, Brotherson started an 11-0 run with a putback tip-in and a free throw for a 3-point play, and finished the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key as Metro led 22-14 with 11:24 left in the half.
The Roadrunners stretched that lead to nine points with 8:06 to go on a layup from Morse off an inbounds pass, but Montevallo closed the half with six straight points to close the gap to 34-33. UM shot 53.8 percent in the first half, including 5-of-10 from the outside, while the Roadrunners made just 5-of-15 from 3-point range.
Montevallo is making their third Elite Eight appearance and face Bellarmine.
“They’re smart and have a lot of returning players,” Young said. “Obviously, they’ve been here before. They played with a lot of poise tonight, knowing what they were going to do down the stretch. They made some big defensive plays tonight down the stretch. So, hopefully, we’re going to have to try to spread them out and try to get them on the move a little bit and try to get after them.”
You can see video highlights of the game through NCAA.com right here.