Buzzer-beater denies Cougars upset win over Montevallo

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Ryan May's three-pointer at the buzzer gave No. 10 Montevallo a 77-74 win over Columbus State on Saturday at the Lumpkin Center in the PBC opener for both teams.

Racing for a ball that was heading out of bounds, May turned a fire a three-pointer from the corner that denied the Cougars the upset, and their first win over the Falcons in 31 years.

In a 74-all game, Darius Stowers put up a shot for the Falcons with 34 seconds remaining that rimmed out giving CSU the chance to hold the ball for the final shot. After a timeout, CSU dropped the in-bound pass and the ball rolled out of bounds giving UM possession.

With the clock running down, Troran Brown stepped up from the three-point line faking a shot before throwing a wild pass to May in the corner. May corralled the ball and fired the game-winning shot.

With the victory, Montevallo (8-0, 1-0 PBC) increased its winning streak to 13 games over the Cougars, a streak that dates back to 1982.  It snapped CSU's 10-game home winning streak.

It wasn't a pretty beginning for the Cougars as Montevallo raced out to a 12-2 lead with just five minutes and 10 seconds off the clock. The Falcons scored the game's first seven points including the first five by Brown. After Nick Turner broke the opening run, UM scored five more points with Shykeem Jackson capping it off with a three-pointer.

However, Columbus State (6-2, 0-1 PBC) quickly responded going on its most impressive run of the season to date. Over the next eight minutes and 12 seconds, the Cougars outscored Montevallo 25-6 to go in front 27-18 with 6:48remaining in the opening half.

The Cougars begin the spurt with 18 straight points. Back-to-back three-pointers by R.J. Sessions and Kenney Funderburk brought CSU within four, 12-8, and after a pair of free throws by Jermaine Morgan, DeAngelo Kirkland tied the game at 12-all on a layup.

CSU eventually went up 20-12 before Brown ended UM's four minute and 37 second scoreless draught. The Cougars were not done, however, taking their nine point lead at the 6:48 mark.

Columbus State took its largest lead of the half with 3:44 left on a Turner three-pointer that pushed the score to 32-22.

Coming out of the break up by 10, CSU scored six of the first seven points of the second half to increase its lead to 15, 44-29 on a BJ Battle jumper.

After UM trimmed the lead down to 12, the Cougars scored four straight points extending their lead to a game high 16 points, 48-32, with 15:00 left.

From there, Montevallo began its slow climb back into the game. A 7-1 run fueled by back-to-back three's by Shykeem Jackson made it a nine-point game, 49-40. After the team exchanged buckets, Ed'Lexu Collier slammed home a dunk bringing Montevallo within seven (54-47).

Once again, it looked like the Cougars were running away with the game after six straight points pushed the lead back to 13, 60-47, with 9:43 left after a steal and a dunk by Sessions.

But again, the Falcons chipped away at the deficit going on a 9-2 spurt to get within six (62-56) with 6:54 to go. Da-Juan Cooper helped out with four of his own while Brown added a three-pointer.

The Cougars would move up 69-58, their final double digit lead, at the 5:35 mark on a dramatic Battle dunk.

The long ball continued to help the Falcons as two threes over a minute and a half stretch propelled a 12-2 UM run that brought CSU's lead to a single point, 71-70, with 2:51 to go. Brown and May had the trifectas for Montevallo.

After the teams exchanged points, Cooper laid one in that tied the game at 74 with 1:51 remaining. It was the first time since the 12:14 mark in the opening half that the game was tied.

Both teams had chances to take the lead but neither were successful until May's game-winner.

Columbus State didn't have a field goal over the final four minutes of play while scoring just three points.

Kenney Funderburk scored a game high 24 points for the Cougars going 10-for-18 from the field. BJ Battle and DeAngleo Kirkland had nine points while Shane Heyward chipped in eight and had six blocks. Kirkland became just the 11th player in CSU history to have six or more blocks in a game.

Four different Montevallo players scored in double figures including Troran Brown and Da-Juan Cooper who each had 17. Shykeem Jackson and Ed'Lexus Collier scored 14 and 11, respectively.

As a team, CSU shot 43.8 percent (28-for-64) including going 6-for-19 from three. Montevallo shot 41.1 percent (30-for-73) but made nine three pointers throughout the game.

Columbus State will be back in action on Tuesday, welcoming in PBC foe Clayton State. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Lumpkin Center.