Buffaloes tame Lions

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com

   The Buffalo men's basketball team toyed with the Lions Saturday night at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, never leading by more than 13 points, and then pounced in the final five minutes with an 11-5 run to win by 17, 77-60.
   In the women's game, the Lady Buffs thought they had the cat in the bag, but halfway through the second, the Lady Lions attacked, and took the 81-70 win.
   After the men's tipoff, Craig Emmert put the ball in the hoop for Milligan from a Jonathon Harris fake. Emmert scored a game-high 23 points for the night, 13 of which he put down in the first half.
   Emmert also collected 13 rebounds for the Buffaloes. Harris finished a 7-point Buffalo run with a layup that was assisted by Michael Morrell.
   Jakeith Hairston succeeded on four of his five field goal attempts in the first half, and went 2-2 on three-pointers, making him Milligan's second leading first-half scorer, with ten points.
   "I liked the authority that Milligan played with," said Bryan head coach Morris Michalski. "I thought they really outworked us."
   A dunk from Bryan's Michael Stone made the score 17-10, and marked the start of the Lions' gradual scoring climb that tied the game at 46 shortly after halftime. A 15-5 Lion scoring run made the tie.
   "I think there were some moments when we were on the brink of falling apart there in the first half, and then we gathered ourselves and pushed to get back in after halftime," Michalski said. "I think we were quick, but we weren't in a hurry."
   Harris put in 12 points in the second half, giving him a game total of 18 points, and leading the Buffaloes in a second half the ended in the win.
   "I thought it was a real unselfish effort for us. I thought offensively, we were making extra passes and finding the open man tonight," said Milligan coach Tony Wallingford. "Defensively, when we settled down and started playing together defensively, I think we did a good job."
   Jim Hanson led the Lion scoring with 14 points and had three blocked shots, while Gabe Johnson collected ten rebounds.
   "We were fortunate tonight," said Wallingford. "Bryan has one of the best shooting teams in the league. The best shooting team in the league did not shoot well tonight, and that was a big fact in the game. The team is pretty much built on the assisting kid on the inside and the guy hitting threes on the outside, and the threes weren't going down for them tonight."
   Bryan was 20 of 60 on field goals, and only 6 of 27 on three-pointers. They reconciled their shooting reputation with free throws, sinking 14 of 20.
   In the women's game, Milligan took the tipoff and put the ball inside for Joy Clark to score the first basket. Bryan then took the 8-6 lead, but the Lady Buffaloes went on a 14-0 scoring run, with five points from Kacie Letterman, four from Amanda Greene, a trey by Elizabethton Henter, and a bank shot from Kari Stout.
   A jumper with 12 minutes left in the half from Bryan's Liz Bass evened the score to 20-10, with Milligan in the lead.
   "I think Milligan was really good in the start of the game," said Bryan's women's coach Matt Bollant. "They made the shots; one thing about basketball is when you make shots, that affects how you play. Milligan got off to a good start making some shots and we didn't."
   Brittany Swanson carried the Lady Lions in the last 11 minutes of the first half, sinking three treys, five field goals, and two free throws for 15 points. Sarah Bass, Abigail Sneed, and Jessica Colven each went two for two on free throws for Bryan in the first half. A six-point Bryan run in the last 40 seconds brought the Lady Lions within one point, at 40-39.
   For the Lady Buffs, Letterman was six for seven on foul shots in the first half, and scored ten points. Stout added eight for Milligan.
   The second half was full of suspense, as the players on the court tied the game eight times in little over than nine minutes. The final tie was with 5:18 to go. A minute later, Swanson made the three-pointer that marked the point at which Milligan would not regain the lead.
   "We did a little better job defending in that second half, playing deep defense," said Coach Bollant. "They scored 30 in the second half, and I felt like we defended what they were trying to do, and took away Stout a little bit more - just made them work a little bit more for their shots."
   Sarah Bass was influential for Bryan in the second half, as she scored 18 of her game-high 25 points. For Milligan in the second, Lacy York put in nine points as Stout added another eight, and Greene sunk seven points.
   Milligan coach Rich Aubrey was pleased that with the fact that his team continued to play well after their dominating first quarter.
   "We played well in the second half too, just not long enough," Aubrey said. Referring to the final five minutes of the game, Aubrey added, "Until that point, we had outscored them in the second half too."
   Stout led the Milligan scoring with 16 points, Greene followed with 14 points and controlled the boards with nine rebounds, and Letterman scored 11 points. For Bryan, Swanson followed Sarah Bass' lead with 22 points and made nine rebounds. Sneed put in 14 points.
   "Close isn't getting it done right now, but we're close," said Aubrey. "I'm not surprised that we played well. I thought we were going to win. Our kids have worked hard, and they came, and they were prepared and ready to play hard. We just made mistakes in situations where we needed to make plays, and they made plays. We left too many points on the foul line. We missed ten free throws, and several one-and-ones, and obviously right there, we left enough points out there to win a game."