Falcons Nearly Nip DePaul in Exhibition Opener

CHICAGO – The Montevallo men’s basketball team gave the fans back home plenty to look forward to this season after a valiant effort on Thursday night. The Falcons battled Big East foe DePaul University to the very end before falling 67-63 in front of a crowd of 2,340 at Wintrust Arena.

The Blue Demons jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game and led by as much as 23 points, before settling for a 38-21 at halftime. 

The Falcons came out firing in the second half, outscoring DePaul 12-1 to trim the deficit down to five. Jason King’s 3-pointer with 16:17 left made the score 38-33. Vinnie Viana keep the difference at five, sinking a freethrow with 11:23 remaining to make it 45-40. 

DePaul scored six unanswered to increase their lead back to double-digits at 51-40 with 10:56 left. But, the Falcons stuck around, keeping the Blue Demons in range for a rally.

With 4:29 left in the game, Travarus Carroll slashed to the basket and scored to trim the deficit down to 61-54.

The Falcons got even closer with less than a minute left in the game when Xavier Malcom nailed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to make it 65-61.

A DePaul turnover gave UM a chance to tighten the gap with 35 seconds left, but Malcom’s 3-point attempt with 19 seconds left was off the mark.

The Falcons did get within one possession when Braxton Bertolette knocked down a jumper with four seconds left to make it 66-63. But, there wasn’t enough time to complete the comeback.

King and Bertolette both finished with 16 points to lead the Falcons. King made 6-of-9 fieldgoal attempts, including two 3-pointers. He was also 2-of-3 from the freethrow line. King also had five rebounds and a blocked shot. 

Bertolette was 6-of-12, with two 3-pointers. He also made both of his freethrows and had four rebounds.

Aaris-Monte Bonds only scored two points, but he cleaned the glass for the Falcons, pulling down 12 rebounds.

For the game, UM shot 38.7% from the floor (24-of-62) and 6-of-18 from beyond the arc.  The Falcons were also solid from the freethrow line, hitting 9-of-13 shots (69.2%).

After shooting only 24% from the field in the first half, the Falcons sizzled in the second half, knocking down 55% of their shots and outscoring DePaul 42-29.

The Falcons officially open the season on Nov. 12 against the University of Tampa in St. Leo, Fla. UM will also take on Saint Leo University on Nov. 13.

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