AIKEN — Despite playing two double-overtime games in less than two weeks, Montevallo found the energy to withstand a higher-seeded Lincoln Memorial team on Sunday.
The Falcons will return to familiar territory in the Division II Tournament after a 98-86 win over the Railsplitters in the Southeast Regional semifinals at the convocation center.
No. 3-seed Montevallo (26-5) stayed close with No. 2-seed Lincoln Memorial (28-3) throughout the first half and pulled away late, going on a 20-10 run in the final five minutes.
“Coming out, the shooting in the first half was phenomenal for both sides. We started at a fast pace,” Montevallo coach Danny Young said. “We slowed down in the second half and got stops. We picked up rebounds and made free throws. That was a big key.”
Montevallo advances to the Southeast Regional championship for the third time in five years. The Falcons made appearances in 2010 and 2012, reaching the national championship in 2012.
They will play in the regional championship Tuesday at 7 p.m.
After beating Georgia Regents in double-overtime in the Peach Belt Conference semifinals on March 8, Montevallo again won in double-overtime in the regional quarterfinals against Georgia Southwestern on Saturday.
That didn’t stop Montevallo from coming out hot offensively, shooting 56 percent in the first half and finishing 54 percent.
“Our energy level was better in the second half,” Young said. “We started at a frantic pace and got tired, but our depth in the post helped.”
Montevallo’s Orlando Brazier led with 31 points and 11 rebounds, going 11 for 14 from the field. Troran Brown added 21 points and six assists.
“I’m happy for (Brazier),” said Brown, who was named the Peach Belt player of the year. “The main goal is for the team to win. It came down to getting stops. We dug down on the defensive end.”
Lincoln Memorial’s Chance Jones had 26 points and seven rebounds. Vincent Bailey added 20 points.
The Railsplitters have failed to get past the regional semifinals the past three years, including a 61-60 loss to Montevallo in 2012.
“We just have to find a way to move ourselves past this level,” Lincoln Memorial coach Josh Schertz said. “The margins are very thin. We have to put ourselves in the situation to come back again and try to get over the hump.”