Buffaloes bounce Bulldogs

By Tim Chambers

   Many of us have heard the old saying "the bigger they are the harder they fall." Such was the case Saturday night at Milligan College as the Buffaloes (11-8, 12-14) turned back the Union Bulldogs 74-60 at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Union held a huge size advantage over the much smaller Buffaloes but the orange and black would hold their own throughout the evening. The Bulldog backline included a 6-8 center and two 6-7 forwards.
   "I thought our defense was very active throughout the game," stated Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford. "They had the size advantage, so it was important that we box out and not allow second shots. We were much better in our halfcourt offense tonight."
   Union took a quick 4-0 lead but Milligan answered behind a deuce from Michael Morrell and a layup from Craig Emmert. Union kept working the inside game, with 6-8 center Ross Myers tossing in two baskets to up the lead to 9-4.
   Milligan ran their offense to perfection using some screens and nice cuts, which resulted in two back-door buckets from Jon Harris and Emmert to cut the lead to one. A long trey from Jordan Simmons gave the Buffs a 13-11 lead.
   JaKeith Harriston continued to stun the Bulldog crowd with a long trey from the corner to push the lead to five.
   Morrell dazzled the crowd with a running one-hander, which was followed by a steal from Simmons, who found Harris for a layin as suddenly the lead grew to nine at the 13:18 mark.
   Bradley Blair came off the bench and immediately knocked down a jumper, followed by a two-ball from Harriston, to give Milligan a 24-13 advantage at the 9:13 mark.
   Union tried to rally behind the offensive play of Myers and Joe Bramlage, but the Buffaloes refused to give in. Todd Davis found a seam in the Bulldog defense for two while Eric Coggins nailed a three from across campus as the lead grew to 13 at the 8:00 mark.
   Union made a run behind a trey from Josh Andrews, but Milligan answered with three hoops from Harris, Morrell and Emmert to open up a 37-21 lead at the 5:00 mark.
   Cold shooting plagued Milligan over the next four minutes while Union was enjoying an 9-0 run which cut a 16-point lead to six at intermission.
   The Buffs opened the second half with a fast break layup from Scott Ferguson, followed by a jumper from Morrell to take a 42-32 lead. Union fought back behind the inside play of Myers to cut the margin at 42-39, but the Buffs regrouped to widen the lead.
   Harris with a floater, then a kiss off the glass from Harriston extended the lead at 46-39, but the stampede had just begun.
   Davis tacked on five straight followed by a three-point dagger from Harriston giving Milligan a 58-36 advantage with 8:40 remaining.
   After a near brawl on the floor which saw Union lose 6-7 forward Chris Mullins by way of a personal foul, along with a technical, the Buffs refused to be intimidated.
   Trailing by double digits, Union was forced to foul as Milligan maintained the lead by hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch enroute to their 14-point win.
   Emmert led all scorers with 18, followed by Davis with 14 while Harriston tossed in 10. Morrell turned in a good outing with eight points along with five assists.
   Milligan got a strong performance from Simmons, who added five points, four rebounds and four steals, two that proved crucial stopping Bulldog runs.
   "I play behind two of the best scorers in the conference in Michael (Morrell) and Eric (Coggins)," said Simmons. I just tried to come in and give our team a lift. We have three conference games left, including King. We really owe them one."