Coggins keeps Buffs alive with buzzer three

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   BRISTOL, Va -- One shot kept a season intact.
   Trailing with just over two minutes left in the game, the Milligan College Buffaloes keyed an impressive comeback with a pair of treys and two defensive calls in their favor.
   Covenant took the ball and ran the clock out efficiently with Nate Beers going for the victory; however, the shot fell short and Elizabethton's Michael Morrell grabbed a rebound and a timeout with 4.2 seconds left on the clock.
   Jonathon Harris then drove the ball down the court and found Eric Coggins, who shot a three while flying out of bounds. The shot went in and the Buffaloes' season continues after a 70-67 victory in the first round of the AAC Tournament at Virginia High School.
   "It was an exciting finish," said Milligan coach Tony Wallingford. "I'm happy for our guys. At the same time, I feel bad for Covenant that they battled so hard and gave us a good game. I'm sure both teams felt it should have gone another five minutes, but tonight, luck was with us."
   "We were very fortunate tonight," he said. "Covenant outplayed us most of that game, but we were able to hang in and hang in and get a little surge."
   Milligan battled from behind for the majority of the game, tying things late in the first half at 29 apiece.
   Covenant took an eight-point lead at the top of the second half before the Buffaloes were biting at its heels. A trio of treys from Tim Mahla, Nate Beers and Jeremy Mason put Covenant up by nine, leading to the Buffalo comeback.
   "Necessity can sometimes bring out the best in you, and it was do or die," said the Milligan coach. "We had to extend the pressure and try to make some plays. The guys did it."
   For Coggins, the shot was something he didn't expect.
   "I was expecting Harris to take the shot," Coggins said. "I popped open, he hit me and I took the shot. It felt good to win it."
   Coggins finished with nine points on three treys for the Buffaloes.
   Harris led the game with 20 points inside, while Craig Emmert added 15.
   "We stuck in there," said Emmert. "We were down nine with two minutes left and every game here could be the last game of the season. We played up on defense and were fighting for our life. We made a bunch of stops and Eric hit the shot. We're moving on."
   Milligan now faces King at 7:30 tonight in the tournament quarterfinals.
   "We knocked it down and we'll take it and move on," said Wallingford. "We've got a huge challenge tomorrow. The guys celebrated a little bit because they were a team hungry for a win. But we've got them calmed down and refocused for tomorrow. I know they'll look forward to it."
   The Tornado defeated Milligan twice this season, including a tight second outing.
   "King's a good team -- we've had two close games with them this year," added Coggins. "We're going to have to come out and battle hard to win."
   Mahla and Beers added 13 and 12 apiece in Covenant's final appearance this season.
   Women
   Virginia Intermont 64
   Milligan 63
   Despite holding onto a lead for the majority of the game, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes' season was ended Wednesday night in a close battle against the Lady Cobras.
   Brandi Owens came alive with 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to lead Intermont.
   Milligan pegged away with three treys apiece in the first half, courtesy of Kari Stout and Ginny White, and inside buckets from Lacy York in building a 15-point lead early.
   Intermont battled back to close it at four, courtesy of Ashley Booker and Dana Frazier, but the Lady Buffs kept an eight-point (40-32) halftime lead.
   Stout scored all of her 13 points in the first half, only getting in four second-half shots.
   It was the final game for Lady Buffalo seniors Amanda Greene, Nicky Jessen and Joy Clark.
   Greene and Jessen contributed a bucket apiece for Milligan, while Clark led the team in scoring with 16 points.
   York added 14 for the Lady Buffaloes, while Booker and Frazier helped pace the Lady Cobras with 10 and nine, respectively.