Covenant sends Milligan teams to AAC setbacks

Photo By Kristen Luther
Milligan's Craig Emmert puts up a shot as he floats down the lane.

By Rebecca Pierson
STAR Correspondent
Buffalo fans had a disappointing night last night, as both the men's and women's teams were defeated by Covenant College at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
The 71-64 loss was a dose of déjà vu for the women (3-12, 2-5 AAC), who were defeated by Covenant (8-11, 6-5 AAC) last week 63-58.
"A lot of things are different," said head coach Rich Aubrey. "In last week's game there was a point in the second half where we were somewhat in control. I think our biggest lead was six, but we got the mirror image of that tonight.
"They were a little more in control the second half, and then it got to the point where either we were going to get back into the game, or they were going to pull away. They pulled away. This week we couldn't pull away. We gave up some big rebounds last week, and that was the difference," he said.
The Lady Buffs held a one-point lead at the half, but gave up a lot to the Lady Scots in turnovers and free throws in the second half.
Kari Stout led the team with 22 points, included nine from three pointers, and Ginny White had 11 points. Lacy York also tallied 11, including 7 of 8 in free throws.
Covenant scoring was dominated by Rebekah Smith, who totaled 22 points, four rebounds, and was 12-12 at the free throw line. Joanna Reitz was 3-4 for free throws and five rebounds for 10 points in the game.
Aubrey said: "They made the plays they needed to make to extend their lead. We never got back in it. We haven't executed. We haven't been making shots and making plays, and we have too many turnovers. In our two home losses, I think the turnovers have been our most important number.
"It's one of those things. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. As a group, we didn't make enough plays to come over the hump. I think the thing we need to get better at is taking care of the ball."
The men's team (7-7, 6-1 AAC) lost 74-60 after beating Covenant (6-11, 4-6 AAC) last week in overtime, 73-71.
"We didn't play well the first half," head coach Tony Wallingford said. "We were able to generate enough energy there to battle back, and hang in there. They came back out, and played a great second half.
"We fell apart a little bit. I didn't think we played good team basketball defensively and we didn't play good basketball offensively."
Leading the Buffs in scoring was Jon Harris with 18 points, two assists and seven rebounds. Craig Emmert put 12 on the board and Eric Coggins nailed three 3-pointers, for a total of nine points.
For the Scots, Josh Suddath and Jonathan McClellan both led the team with 12 points.
"To their credit, every breakdown we had defensively, they made us pay for it," Wallingford said. "So, they deserve to win the game. We are hoping that we are a smart team, and we hope we come back better on Monday. It is disappointing, but we know it is a long season."
"The teams that can improve while they are winning, those are the teams who will finish at the top. We did not really show improvement tonight from our previous game. We just couldn't generate points," he said.
Despite the loss, the crowd was energetic, to say the least, and has the appreciation of both coaches.
"It is very good for us," Aubrey said. "We have only played three home games now, but we have had very good crowds at each one. They have really been behind us. We certainly can't blame our losses on lack of energy. The crowd has given us great energy."
Wallingford said: "We felt like we were in quicksand, and kept trying at times, but getting deeper and deeper, but the fans wouldn't let us die there. We hope we can do better for them next time."
The next opponent for both teams is UVA-Wise, whose women are 6-9, 3-7 AAC and the men are 9-9, 8-2 AAC, on Monday in Virginia. The UVA-Wise men are ranked second in the AAC behind Milligan.
"[UVA-Wise] we know is an excellent team," Wallingford said, "and it will take a great effort on the road to win."
The men and women will travel to Bluefield on Thursday, and then return home to face Bryan on Saturday. The women will tip-off at 5:30 and the men will begin at 7:30.