COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The defending Peach Belt Conference Tournament champion Montevallo Falcons opened the 2013 Championships Friday with a 60-53 win, but not before having to fend off a late Augusta State rally to capture the victory.
The Falcons led by 54-38 with 3:46 remaining only to have the Jaguars go on a 10-0 run over the next 2:30 to trim the Montevallo lead to six points with just over a minute in the game. Montevallo hit 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
With the win, Montevallo improved to 19-8 overall on the season. The top seed from the league's West Division, the Falcons will face UNC Pembroke in the semifinals at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday at Columbus' Frank G. Lumpkin Center. The loss ends Augusta State's season with a 14-13 record on the year.
Montevallo took a 10-point lead with 7:46 remaining in the game as guard Troran Brown drained three-pointer. Augusta came right back though as D'Angelo Boyce drilled a jumper to cut Montevallo lead to 43-35.
Augusta State made a run with six minutes remaining as guard Devonte Thomas drained a three-pointer to cut the Falcon lead to 45-38 only to have the Falcons answer on their ensuing possession with a three-pointer to retake a double-digit lead, 48-38.
After a basket by Drico Hightower in the paint, followed by two free throws from Troran Brown and another layup by Hightower, Montevallo took its largest lead of the game, 54-38, with 4:31 left to play.
In the first half, Augusta State raced out to an early lead 6-0 in the game, draining two three-pointers. The Jaguars maintained their advantage until midway through the first half. Trailing 14-9 with 13:06 remaining in the first half, Montevallo went on a 13-2 run over an eight minute stretch and took a 24-16 lead on a three-pointer by Ryan May.
After Augusta State cut the deficit to five points with two minutes until half, Montevallo's Travis DeShazior drained a three-pointer to re-extend its lead to eight. Two free throws by Augusta State's Weems pulled the Jaguars to 27-21 at intermission.
Brown led the way for Montevallo with 19 points and five assists. Hightower had 11 points and eight boards, followed by May with 10 points. Marvin Fitzgerald finished with nine points and 12 boards for the Falcons.
Weems led Augusta State with 20 points, the 10th time this season he has scored over 20 points this year. Devon Wright-Nelson had double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.
The contest marked the final game in a Jaguar uniform for forward Travis Keels, the lone senior on the ASU roster.