West Florida defeats Montevallo; advances to GSC semifinals

watch By Tyler Wood
clomid and drug interactions Staff writer

The University of West Florida men’s basketball team has advanced to the Gulf South Conference semifinals, defeating the Montevallo Falcons 83-74 in the opening round of the GSC tournament on Tuesday in the UWF Field House.

The Argos (26-3, 17-3 GSC) were led in scoring by senior guard Marvin Jones, who posted 25 points and connected on 7-of-13 shots from behind the arc. Junior guard Rashaan Benson added 20 points and connected on 5-of-9 shots, including a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 at the free-throw line. Benson also dished out 12 assists, breaking his previous single-game record of 11.

Coach Jeff Burkhamer was pleased with the efforts of Jones and Benson, crediting them for stepping up when the team needed them.

“There’s been nights when certain guys haven’t played as well and other guys have played great,” Burkhamer said. “Tonight Marvin [Jones] was great, Rashaan [Benson] was terrific. Different guys have stepped up, and that’s really helped us.”

Though the Argos trailed by as many as five points in the early stages of the second half, Jones and his teammates focused and fought their way back into the game.

Photos by Tyler Wood

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“It just goes to show that our team is resilient,” Jones said. “We’ve been in situations like this throughout our last two years, so it’s familiar. Maybe that’s not a good thing, but we know how to play in those situations and we know what type of focus we need.”

The crowd of nearly 800 amplified when senior guard Moter Deng connected on a 3-pointer that gave the Argos the lead – one that they would hold throughout the remainder of the game. With chants and eruptions of cheer, the crowd was the perfect picture of what Burkhamer had envisioned for this program since he arrived in 2015.

“Really the last two games have been outstanding,” Burkhamer said. “Great crowd, good noise. It really helps our players and I think it was a terrific atmosphere. It’s something we can build upon for next year and keep people coming back and having fun at our games.”

The win puts the Argos against Christian Brothers University (20-8, 12-8 GSC) for the second round of the GSC tournament. West Florida won the only regular-season matchup between the two teams 76-66 on Jan. 15.

“Christian Brothers is a hard team,” Burkhamer said. “We beat them earlier in the year in a hard-fought game and they beat us last year in the tournament. Our teams are familiar with each other and we expect it to be another hard-fought game.”

The Argos will travel to Birmingham for the matchup with the Pirates on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. in the Pete Hanna Center at Samford University. The winner will face either Valdosta State (25-3, 18-2 GSC) or Delta State (13-15, 11-9 GSC) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.