The best record in a decade and a number-3 seed in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament couldn’t keep the Montreat Cavaliers from being upset in the second round.
The Cavaliers entered the tournament with a 19-9 record, the program’s best since going 19-13 in the 2006-07 season. But on Feb. 23 in Kingsport, Tennessee, the Allen University Yellow Jackets - a number-6 seed - ousted Montreat from this year's tournament.
Montreat and Allen University split a pair of regular season games this season, with the home team coming out on top in each contest.
The Yellow Jackets, with their 10-10 record in the AAC, opened the tournament with a 74-69 win over number-11 seed Point University. The Cavaliers went 12-8 in the conference in the regular season, earning their number-3 seed and a first-round bye.
A pair of David Everage free throws put Montreat up by 9, its largest lead of the game, late in the first half. The Yellow Jackets tied the game just before halftime.
The teams tied the game six times in the second half until a 3-pointer from Allen’s Troy Bryant with under 8 minutes to play put the Yellow Jackets on top for good
Two players from Morganton led the way for Montreat. Sophomore forward Jeron Hemphill scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while guard Austin Butler poured in 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Sophomore guard Alonzo Mobley was the only other Cavalier to score in double-digits, adding 10 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.
Prior to the game in Kingsport, four Cavaliers were recognized by the conference for their performance during the regular season. Mobley, who finished fifth in the league in scoring and sixth in rebounding, was named to the all-conference team. Everage earned a spot on the all-conference second team, having hit 67 percent from the field, fourth in the nation. He also averaged 13.6 points per game.
Terrell Sheffey, who hit 39 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, was named to the AAC all-freshman team.
Freshman Derrick Cusano was the school’s representative on the conference’s Champions of Character team, as was junior Hannah Calloway from the Montreat women’s team. Calloway, sophomore Darah DeWalt and junior Jasmine Celestin were also named to the AAC’s all-academic team.
The Lady Cavaliers were a number-10 seed heading into their tournament and advanced to the second round with a 63-59 win over Truett McConnell University. They fell to number-2 seed Reinhardt in the second round.