Members of the University of Montevallo men’s basketball team pose for a photo in front of the arena in Highland Heights, Ky. Featured on the glass are the Elite Eight logo and the team logos for those schools that made it to the Elite Eight. The Falcons advanced through the tournament, playing Western Washington in the national championship game March 24.
While most of the University of Montevallo family was enjoying spring break last week, the men’s basketball team was hard at work in Highland Heights, Ky.
The team played March 21 in their Elite Eight match-up, defeating Metropolitan State College of Denver 67-65 when senior Antoine Davis hit a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining on the clock.
The win advanced the Falcons to their first NCAA Division II Final Four. They faced off against defending national champion Bellarmine University Thursday evening. The 22nd-ranked Falcons held fourth-ranked Bellarmine scoreless over a seven-minute-plus stretch in the second half to open up a double-digit lead and eventually win, 79-72.
The win advanced the Falcons to their first NCAA Division II National Championship game, which sent University personnel scrambling to secure fan buses and get the word out to any and all who might cut short their spring break and take a road trip to cheer for the Falcons. Through e-mail, facebook and website updates, the word was spread, and when it was all said and done, four buses departed from Montevallo Friday at midnight, headed for Kentucky and the chance to watch the Falcons play for a national championship for the first time in school history. The game was broadcast live March 24 on CBS.
The Falcons fought hard against a very tall team throughout the game, and in the end fell just short of their first national championship, dropping a 72-65 decision to 12th-ranked Western Washington University.
The men’s basketball team is the first University of Montevallo program to advance to the NCAA championship game. The Falcons have now advanced to the NCAA tournament seven of the last nine years and have advanced to the Elite Eight three of the last seven seasons under head coach Danny Young.
The Falcons were led by the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, senior D. J. Rivera (Philadelphia, Pa./Binghamton University) who scored a game-high 20 points in the game. Senior Antoine Davis (Washington, D. C./College of the Desert) added 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. Junior Drico Hightower (Augusta, Ga./Angelina College) had nine points and nine rebounds while senior DeMarcus Catchings (Arlington, Texas/Cedar Valley College) added eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
In addition to their tournament play, the Falcons participated in a community outreach program at Crossroads Elementary, a local school. The students at Crossroads had been following the Falcons since they were announced hosts of the Southeast Regional Tournament. All the classes made signs for the different players and were excited to finally meet the team. Some of the players spoke to the group about what it takes to be a college athlete and the importance of staying in school and listening to your teachers and parents. Following the talk, the players did a basketball demonstration in which the students went crazy every time a UM Falcon dunked the ball.
For complete games coverage, as well as photo galleries from the tournament games, visit the men’s basketball pages for UM Athletics online at http://www.montevallofalcons.com/sports/mbkb/index.
University of Montevallo associate professor of music Joseph Landers, left, has been commissioned by the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra to compose a new work for a concert marking the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that caused many deaths and extensive destruction in that city. The world premiere performance of that work will be presented Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the Moody Concert Hall on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.
Landers’ composition, Sinfonia da Requiem, blends seven movements of music with selections of poetry by Emily Dickinson on the serenity of death. The composer began with the text and then added layers of orchestral and choral music, as well as a baritone vocal part. He says that he wants his composition to reflect, not so much sadness and mourning, as dignity and hope and to express the vast space left by the path of destruction, both in material things and in emotions.
Landers, a prolific composer, has written more than 40 compositions in his nine years at the University of Montevallo, commemorating such occasions as the inauguration of two university presidents and the dedication of the University’s renovated Palmer Auditorium.
He reports that Sinfonia da Requiem is his largest work to date. On the work, he noted, “I was flattered and immeasurably humbled by this opportunity to compose a piece of music to commemorate such a catastrophic event that touched so many lives in Tuscaloosa and around the state.”
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra will present a concert at the University of Montevallo at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in Palmer Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for students of all ages. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The concert is a collaborative effort between the ASO and Bobby Horton, Alabama composer, performer and music historian. It celebrates 2011 as “The Year of Alabama Music” and honors the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The program is titled “Alabama: Here We Stay,” and includes traditional songs of the Civil War, including “Rose of Alabama,” “Tombigbee River,” “The Battle of Shiloh Hill” and “Home Sweet Home,” all arranged by Gary Smoke.
The program combines live music, storytelling and audience participation to teach Alabama’s role in the Civil War and recognize the lasting impact of music on the human spirit in the past, present and future.
Kee Malesky, left, National Public Radio’s longest-serving research librarian, will speak on the campus of the University of Montevallo Monday, April 9, at 3:30 p.m., in the Merchants and Planters Bank Auditorium in Comer Hall. Malesky’s topic will be “Wikis, Wonks and Websites: An NPR Librarian Looks at Today’s Swirling Vortex of Information.”
She has authored a book, All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge (Wiley 2010), a collection of uncommon and interesting facts accumulated during a career spanning more than 20 years of research for NPR. From the cause of red hair in humans to the inspiration for George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, from the building of a Steinway grand piano to miniscule parasites, Malesky has gathered a mountain of miscellany in an entertaining and informative compendium of information on a wide variety of topics. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and several copies will be given away as door prizes. The author will be available to sign books after the program.
Free and open to the public, this event is part of the university’s Information Literacy project in conjunction with its Quality Enhancement Plan. For additional information, contact Kristen Gilbert at 665-6445 or by e-mail at GilbertK@montevallo.edu.