ANDERSON, S.C. -- Senior guard Denzail Jones’ steal and lay-up with 47 seconds remaining lifted Anderson (S.C.) to a 69-65 win against No. 11 Montevallo Saturday night at the Abney Athletic Center. 

Junior guard Chandler Hash added a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds left to set the final margin, as Anderson evened its record at 1-1 on the young season, while Montevallo, the defending Southeast Region champion and preseason pick to win the Peach Belt title, slipped to 1-1.

Jones’ basket and Hash’s free throws capped a rally that saw the Trojans battle back from a seven-point deficit with less than six minutes left by scoring the final 11 points of the contest.

Montevallo’s Travis DeShazior connected on a jumper with 5:20 on the clock to give the Falcons their largest lead of the second half, at 65-58, but Jones answered on the other end with two of his 16 points on the night to pull AU within two possessions. Neither team was able to score for more than two minutes, with Hash ending the drought by hitting 1-of-2 from the line and junior Kyle Sledge followed a Jones miss with an emphatic slam to trim the Falcons’ advantage to 65-63.

Following a Montevallo turnover, Jones drained two free throws to knot the score for the 10th time of the night, at 65 apiece, with less than two minutes left. The Falcons misfired on their attempt to retake the lead and Jones turned the ball over on AU’s next possession, but quickly swiped the ball, laid it in and drew the foul to give the Trojans a 67-65 edge with 47 ticks on the clock. The senior from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who was 8-of-9 from the line on the night, was unable to convert the three-point play, but the Falcons’ Drico Hightower, who shared game-high scoring honors with Hash, missed two free throws with 34.7 seconds left. However, sophomore Ryan May snared the offensive rebound, giving Montevallo another opportunity to tie or take the lead.

After a 30-second timeout, the Falcons’ Troran Brown was called for an offensive foul and Hash set the final margin with his free throws.           

The first half saw eight ties in the first 12 minutes, with neither team able to build more than a four-point lead until the Falcons snapped a 25-25 tie with six unanswered points. Anderson trimmed the deficit to three on three occasions, but Montevallo went to halftime holding a 41-38 advantage.    

Trailing, 48-42, with 16:39 left in the game, Hash knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and Sledge connected on a short jumper to give AU a brief 50-48 lead before senior guard Jonas Brown drained a trey to give the edge back to the visitors.

Montevallo pushed out to the 65-58 cushion on DeShazior’s jumper, setting up the final moments.

Hash finished with 17 points on the strength of 4-of-7 accuracy from beyond the arc and 5-of-6 from the line. Jones added 16 points, with sophomore Chris Ross netting nine points. Sledge led a balanced rebounding effort with six boards.

Hightower tossed in 17 points for Montevallo, with Brown and Marvin Fitzgerald tallying 12 points apiece. Fitzgerald also collected 13 rebounds to complete the double-double.

Anderson continues its season-opening five-game homestand by welcoming North Georgia to the Abney Center on Tuesday.