Buffs bedazzle Alice Lloyd

By Matt Hill

   In a season filled with bumpy roads, it was finally a smooth drive for the Milligan College men's basketball team Thursday night.
   The Buffs shook off a slow start to win 80-62 over the Alice Lloyd Eagles at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Milligan finished the night shooting 57 percent, outrebounded Alice Lloyd 42-37, and was never really threatened after the first 20 minutes.
   "We just worked together, and had good ball movement," said Milligan freshman guard Marc Curry, who finished with 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. "We just made the extra pass to get people open."
   After falling behind 15-11 in the early minutes, the Buffs went on a tear from the field. With Curry and Jonathan Harris leading the way, Milligan outscored the Eagles 29-16 the rest of the first half to take a 40-31 lead at the break.
   "I thought we played with some pretty good energy, and got some shots to go down," Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford said. "But early on we took their best shot. They were hitting for a very high percentage, and our guys were playing hard.
   "We're just doing a good job of finding the open man and knocking them down. We fought through that, and I thought that was the key to the first half when they were hitting just about everything they shot. Then our energy pushed us up a little bit. Overall it was just a good effort by the guys, and I thought we played together tonight."
   With Milligan's big guys in first half foul trouble, a crowd favorite who doesn't play much stepped up big for the Buffs off the bench.
   Nate Tincher only had six points in 11 minutes, but he might of had the biggest role in the game. Tincher came up with four first half rebounds, and definitely held his own out there.
   "When we see guys like Craig Emmert, Todd Davis and Jonathon Harris get two or three fouls in the first half, they're the backbone of our posts," Tincher said. "I've got to come in and play in their shoes, and try to bring some energy to the floor."
   Wallingford says Tincher worked hard for the shining moment he had on Thursday night.
   "That guy did that because he prepares everyday in practice for that opportunity," he said. "He just gets after it and plays hard every day, and he got his opportunity and was really a key to the game. I can't praise him enough for being ready.
   "Sometimes he doesn't even get into the game, and he comes every day to practice and he prepared himself and was able to get it done tonight."
   It was also a breakout game for Curry, whose monster dunk with 3:51 to go in the contest gave Milligan a 76-60 advantage to really put the icing on the cake.
   "I think personally this was one of my better games. Coach told me to come out and be more aggressive on the offensive side and try to get more rebounds," Curry said. "I just tried to concentrate on my defense and the offense just came along with that."
   Harris added 17 for Milligan, while Matt Hurt topped the Eagles with 12.
   Milligan improves to 13-17 overall and 9-12 in AAC play.
   Milligan 78
   Alice Lloyd 65
   The Lady Buffs won their 11th game in the last 13 outings, as they had little trouble after a slow start.
   Milligan saw its 27-25 advantage with six minutes left quickly increase with a 20-8 run to end the half.
   Milligan eventually led 78-51 in the second half before Alice Lloyd closed the game out with a 14-0 spurt.
   "I was very pleased with the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half," Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey said. "I thought we put on a nice run there. We got a little bit of a lead at the end of the first, and we stretched it out at the beginning of the second."
   Joy Clark finished the night a perfect 7-of-7 from the field to end up with 17 points.
   Also coming up big was former Happy Valley standout Lacy York, who finished four-of-five from the field with nine points in limited action.
   "We worked hard, we rebounded and we played as a team," York said. "That's definitely us."
   Kari Stout and Amanda Greene hit double figures for Milligan with 12 and 10, respectively.
   With the Lady Buffs playing well right now, York hopes this will continue into next week's conference tournament.
   "We need to keep working hard, and keep playing as a team," York said. "We have to keep our heads up, and that's what's important."
   Milligan will wrap up the regular season Saturday at home against Brevard.