Milligan falls to Alice-Lloyd

By Matt Hill

   The Milligan College, Alice Lloyd men's game Thursday night was like a good action movie. It had high drama.
   But for Milligan, it wasn't a Hollywood ending.
   Milligan's A.J. Hamler missed a three-pointer in the final seconds, giving the Alice Lloyd Eagles a 70-68 win over the Buffaloes at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   The Buffaloes got one last chance when Alice Lloyd's Tommy McKenzie threw up an air-ball after Milligan forced the Eagles to use all of the shot clock.
   Milligan had 7.8 seconds, and Hamler took a crack from long range. But the shot wasn't even close and Alice Lloyd held on.
   "We knew that with seven seconds certainly we had plenty of time," Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford said. "We anticipated that they would pick up and press a little bit, so we knew were going to have to create, and find an open man and get something up."
   Alice Lloyd led most of the second half, but the Buffaloes came back and took a 62-61 with 3:34 left when Derek Dyer canned two free-throws. At that time, those shots were part of a 6-0 run.
   But the Eagles took the lead right back and never trailed again.
   "They made some big plays down the stretch, and certainly I congratulate them," Wallingford said. "But I'm disappointed. The guys are disappointed, but we talked about improving and taking the challenge to get better and come out of this. And I believe we'll do it."
   Wallingford thought the Buffaloes did well just to have a shot to win the game, as Alice Lloyd led 70-66 in the final minute.
   "We started playing a little bit there," Wallingford said. "We got a couple of stops, and got some good looks at the other end. But again they hurt us with a couple of defensive breakdowns, and they made us pay."
   A big key for Alice Lloyd was stopping Lance Ashby. The Eagles didn't do that early on, as Ashby hit three trifectas in the first half. But as the game wore on Ashby became silent.
   It could have been a difference maker, as Ashby is Milligan's leading scorer. He finished with 20, but Wallingford thought the Eagles did a good job of holding him down in the last ten minutes.
   "I think we failed to get him some shots, and failed to get him some looks," Wallingford said. "We got impatient in that stretch, and just didn't work together offensively."
   Milligan started out the game very well, as it raced out to a 23-14 lead in the first ten minutes of the contest. But six minutes later, Alice Lloyd had the edge at 33-32, and the Buffaloes played catch-up for almost the rest of the night.
   Wallingford thought his team might have lost some energy after the strong start.
   "Maybe we had some people who were winded or exhausted on the floor," Wallingford said. "Maybe we didn't make enough substitutions to keep the energy going, but we'll watch that and if that was a mistake we'll certainly correct that."
   Hamler scored 16 to add to the Milligan cause. Jason Collins also scored 16 to top Alice Lloyd.
   Milligan falls to 8-11 overall, and 4-7 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play.
   Alice Lloyd 58
   Milligan 53
   This game also went down to the wire, but it was a similar result for Milligan.
   Milligan fell behind 56-53 with 29 seconds left after a basket by Alice Lloyd's Andrea Kelley. The Lady Buffaloes took a timeout and were trying to decide if they were going to go for a two or a three.
   Milligan's Miranda Greene took a three-pont attempt with 11.4 seconds left, but it was an air-ball.
   "We would have been happy to take a two right there, if it was quick," Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey said. "But it's one of those situations where you've got to take an open shot, and she was open. It's just one of those things, and we didn't make it."
   Delores Jenkins then made two foul shots to ice it for the Lady Eagles.
   Milligan was leading this contest 31-23 early in the second half when trouble arose. Nicky Jessen, who had already scored 13 points, injured her ankle.
   Aubrey felt like that was a turning point.
   "I guess it was pretty big," Aubrey said. "Things were going pretty well for us until that point. It didn't go well very well after that."
   Milligan was leading 43-36 with 10:34 left, but then the Lady Eagles held the Lady 'Buffs scoreless for almost five minutes. That propelled Alice Lloyd to take a 44-43 lead.
   The lead switched hands six times after that before Alice Lloyd took the lead for good at 50-49 on a basket by Kelly Turner.
   Aubrey thought his deep bench would help the Buffaloes near the finish, but that wasn't the case on this night.
   "They don't have a very deep bench," Aubrey said. "We played 10 people tonight, and I really felt like that should have been to our advantage, but it wasn't. They made the plays, and we didn't."
   Former Hampton standouts Miranda Greene, Amanda Greene and Ginny White all had productive outings for Milligan. Miranda Greene scored 10, Amanda Greene had seven, while Ginny White netted six and ran a solid game from the point.
   Former Happy Valley star Lacy York also saw some action, scoring four first half points.
   Necha Combs topped Alice Lloyd with 15.
   Milligan is now 7-13 overall, and 5-6 in AAC play.