Milligan upends Union

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   Every Milligan men's basketball game seems to be close these days. But only this time, it was in the Buffs' favor on Saturday night.
   Unlike Thursday night against UVA-Wise, Milligan made the plays down the stretch when needed to earn an 89-82 victory over Appalachian Athletic Conference newcomer Union College at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Milligan point guard Roy Richmond, who finished with a career-high 12 points, was relieved to win a close one.
   "We've been through a lot this season," he said. "We've been losing close games, because of one or two plays here or there. Basically tonight, the only thing that we talked about down towards the stretch was to keep our heads in it and step up on defense. The game would come."
   Milligan was clinging to a 74-72 lead with just 4:18 to go in regulation, but a huge three-point basket by JaKeith Hairston pushed the lead out to five points.
   Union rallied back to cut Milligan's edge back down to two points at 79-77, only to have Milligan and Hairston answer again.
   Hairston, who only hit two field goals on the night, came up with maybe the biggest bucket of the game with 1:20 to go to make it an four-point Milligan lead.
   The Buffs pulled away from that point, as Union didn't get any closer.
   "I knew what I had to do," Hairston said. "I had to come out of it, so I coached myself. That's what you've got to do. You've got to be self-motivated, and that's what I did."
   Richmond was very pleased with the final few minutes of the game.
   "We boxed out towards the end real good and we got the rebounds," Richmond said, "and they had to foul us."
   Milligan went 27-of-41 from the foul line, compared to seven-of-14 for Union.
   Michael Morrell, despite having a quiet night from the field, finished 12-of-12 from the charity stripe.
   Morrell and Craig Emmert had 18 points to lead a balanced Milligan scoring attack. Jonathan Harris poured in 14 points and 11 rebounds.
   Ross Myers topped Union with 16 points.
   Richmond's presence offensively came as a surprise, as he is not known as a scorer.
   Richmond says his career-best scoring night wasn't exactly planned.
   "I just let the game come to me," he said. "If I'm open I'll take the shot. I'm basically an assist person and a screener. If the shot comes I'll take it."
   Milligan will be back in action Tuesday night at King.