Cavaliers overcomes halftime deficit to knock off Buffaloes

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   In just about a span of 14 minutes, the Milligan men's basketball team went from looking in good shape for another big Appalachian Athletic Conference upset to losing its postgame pizza privileges.
   UVA-Wise rallied in the second half to take a 70-64 victory over the Buffs at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, and in the process, prevented Milligan from playing the giant-killer role once again.
   In the last couple of weeks, the seventh-place Buffs have defeated Montreat twice and Tennessee Wesleyan, two teams that are at the top of the AAC standings.
   UVA Wise came in at 13-4 in AAC play, in second behind 15-4 Bluefield in the AAC race.
   With the Buffs ahead 48-39 at the 13:48 mark, things looked to be in very good shape for the home team.
   Then came a defensive collapse.
   The Cavs outscored Milligan 31-16 the rest of the way, and finished the half shooting 14-of-28 from the field.
   Needless to say, Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford wasn't very happy with that performance.
   "We didn't make any defensive plays tonight," he said. "We got on our heels. We let some of the obvious things, the fundamentals, the things we work on, just go right out the door. When it gets crunch time, you've got to hunker down. You've got to go get fundamentals, you've got to go to your team defense, and we just didn't do it tonight.
   Part of the problems fundamentally were at the free-throw line. UVA Wise did well there by shooting 18-of-26 on the night, but Milligan was only 10-of-22 from the charity stripe.
   Milligan also finished with 22 turnovers on the night.
   "You've got a chance to step up to the line and put a couple of nails in the coffin or increase your lead or catch up a little bit, and we're not doing that right now. Maybe that's a concentration level. Again, we'll work on that. Turnovers are another concentration area where you've just got to bear down and be determined."
   Craig Emmert topped Milligan with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Zack Moore led the UVA-Wise attack with 17 points.
   Milligan will be back in action Saturday against Union College.