MONTEVALLO, Ala – After 32 years, 13 straight losses and wins against 95 other teams, Columbus State University finally defeated Montevallo knocking off the No. 16 Falcons 81-77 on Wednesday night. The Peach Belt Conference game took place at TrustMark Arena in Montevallo, Ala.
It is the first win for the Cougars against UM since February 8, 1982 snapping a 13-game losing streak. It was also the first win against a ranked opponent for the Cougars since December 7, 2009 when CSU defeated No. 2 Valdosta State 73-71
"This was just a huge victory for us," commented head coach Robert Moore. "Not only did this snap a long losing streak to them (Montevallo), it showed the guys that we can play with the best in the PBC."
"I really believe that we are playing our best ball of the season right now."
After trailing the entire first half, Columbus State (13-10, 7-9 PBC) entered the second period down six, 47-41. Layups by Ryan May and Larry Slaughter in the opening minute of the half quickly made it a 10-point UM lead.
However, just a minute and a half later, the lead was just three points (51-48) as CSU rattled off seven straight points including two three-pointers by BJ Battle.
Slaughter broke the run with a bucket but Battle continued his hot shooting nailing a three-pointer to bring CSU within two, 53-51, with 16:48 to go.
Shane Heyward capped off the 12-2 run with a pair of free throws tying the game at 53 with 15:56 on the clock. It was the first time that the game was tied since the tip.
On the following possession, Troran Brown went deep downtown giving the hosts the lead right back. The Cougars had an answer though as Heyward made a jumper and had a monstrous two-handed dunk to give CSU a 57-56 lead with 14:34 to play.
Over the next few minutes, the lead changed hands four times until DeAngelo Kirkland broke a 63-63 deadlock at the 10:31 mark with a layup. R.J. Sessions would follow with a three from the corner giving CSU a five-point (68-63) advantage.
Montevallo (19-4, 12-4) was able to cut the lead to just a single point three times over the next four and a half minutes but was never able to hit the go-ahead shot.
With 2:34 to go, Columbus State held a 76-72 lead while the Falcons missed opportunities to cut into their deficit by missing the front end of a one-and-one and two three-pointers. On the second missed three, Battle corralled the rebound and hit a racing Nick Turner for a layup to give CSU a 78-72 lead with just 46 seconds to play. The six-point advantage was the largest of the game for CSU.
Columbus State was able to ice the game from the line for the important road victory.
For just the second time this season, five Columbus State players scored 10 or more points led by BJ Battle's 14. Battle was 5-for-7 from the field including a 4-for-5 mark from beyond the arc. In the second half, Battle was 3-for-3 from downtown.
Shane Heyward had 13 points and nine rebounds while Dimitri Davis had 12 and seven. Kenney Funderburk and Nick Turner scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
As a team, CSU shot 40.9 percent (27-for-66) including a season best 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from downtown. The Cougars were also 19-for-27 from the charity stripe.
For Montevallo, Da-Juan Cooper had 14 points and nine boards. Orlando Brazier had 14 and six assists.
Montevallo shot the ball well going 27-for-52 (51.9 percent) from the field. UM made just five of its 16 three-pointers and left a lot of points at the line going 18-for-30.
The first half was all about runs as each team had a sustained one. The Falcons raced out to a 7-2 lead before Battle hit his first three-pointer of the night to make it 7-5 with 16:46 on the clock.
From there, Montevallo went on an 11-3 spurt to take its first double-digit lead of the night, 18-8, just a little before the halfway point of the half. May and Shykeem Jackson both hit three-pointers in the run while Slaughter also had three points.
The lead was eventually stretched to a game high 14, 26-12, on a three by Jackson with 11:34 remaining.
It was then Columbus State's turn to make a charge at the lead as the Cougars went on a 12-2 run over the next three and a half minutes. Most of the damage was done from the line as CSU scored half its points by way of the free throw before Davis scored four straight points to make it a 28-24 game with eight minutes to go before the half.
Montevallo stretched its lead back to seven a few times before the end of the period and held an eight-point advantage (47-39) with just 36 seconds to go.
With a chance to make it a double figure game at halftime, Darius Stowers dribbled the ball of his foot giving possession to the Cougars. CSU made the most of the blunder as Sessions laid one in before the buzzer making it a 47-41 game at the break.