Buffs outrun, outgun Temple Baptist, 103-98

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   Milligan College Public Address Announcer Gene Renfro was kept busy on Saturday afternoon with all the scoring done by the Buffaloes and Temple Baptist at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   The Buffaloes held on in a run-and-gun shootout to take a 103-98 victory during an Appalachian Athletic Conference tune-up for Milligan.
   If you go to a basketball game to watch good defense, then you probably didn't enjoy this contest. If you go for fast paced, up and down the floor action, then this one was for you.
   "In my opinion, when you start running up and down and it's we score, they score, we score, they score, after awhile, it comes to a point where we've got to start playing defense," Milligan forward Craig Emmert said, who topped the Buffs with 24 points. "We can't keep just running up and down with them. In a sense it's kind of fun, but the coach wants us to play defense. Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn't."
   According to Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford, the Buffaloes wanted to run with Temple.
   "We thought we had some run outs available," he said. "We encouraged our guys to get on the boards and get into the lanes and run. And that's how we got our twenty point lead.
   A lead that didn't last.
   Milligan was up 80-60 with eight minutes left, but some defensive lapses and hot shooting by Temple made it a game again.
   Milligan was only ahead 98-88 with 1:34 left, then a 6-0 run by Temple cut the Buffalo lead to 98-94 with a minute to go.
   Temple had a chance to cut Milligan's lead to one or two in the final minute, but a walk prevented that.
   Milligan managed to hold on, but Wallingford was disappointed with the Temple comeback.
   "We got a 20-point lead, and I felt like we just relaxed," Wallingford said.
   The defensive lapses and the run by Temple have the Buffaloes concerned.
   "As with our whole game, everything needs improvement," Jakeith Hairston said. "Everything can improve. There's always room for improvement.
   Said Emmert: "We were lucky to keep the lead."
   With the exception of fouling out late, it was a big game for Emmert. He finished the contest 9-of-15 from the field.
   Hairston also had a huge game, as he had 19 points on the evening.
   With Jonathon Harris out due to injury for the 'Buffs, Emmert thought other players would have to step up and he was more than happy to be one of them.
   "With Jonathon out, I knew I couldn't get in foul trouble tonight," he said. "I got into it a little bit, but I still tried to have a good game. I knew certain guys had to step up, and everybody did."
   Todd Davis, Marc Curry and Michael Morrell each finished in double digits for Milligan, scoring 16, 14, and 12, respectively. Morrell poured in six assists on the day.
   Temple Baptist was led by Kevin Sowell, who filled it up for 38 points on the afternoon. Sowell might be one of the best players Milligan has seen this season.
   "He's an excellent player," Wallingford said. "He's so smooth in getting to the basket and finishing."
   The Buffs will now move on to conference play, as they face Brevard on Thursday night in North Carolina.
   Milligan hopes it is ready for the brunt of the conference schedule.
   "We're going into the conference now, and we're going into it like any other game we go through," Hairston said. "We're going to attack it the way we always attack it. We're going to go out there and play hard, play smart and execute. We're going to have some fun."