Greensboro shades Milligan, 71-69

STAR Staff

   After suffering a loss to conference rival Brevard, the Milligan College Buffaloes needed to change things around as the Lions of Greensboro College came to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse Thursday evening.
   The Buffaloes (3-3) got off to a slow start, which would come back to haunt them as they fell to the Lions (3-1) by the final of 71-69 in another heartbreaking defeat.
   "Our guys worked hard and played solid," said Greensboro coach Eddie Payne. "We had a very disappointing loss on Sunday against Washington & Lee and I think we bounced back real well."
   The first half wasn't very impressive for either team as it took almost three minutes for a field goal to go through the net, when Milligan's James Howard netted a jump shot from inside the paint to give his team an early lead.
   "We floated in and out a little bit in the first half," said Milligan coach Tony Wallingford. "It's a leadership thing and we're just waiting on that to emerge. We want some of our older guys to take control on the floor and know what we've got to do."
   Greensboro kept it close though as the first half was nothing but a see-saw battle. Milligan's Andrew Howard and the Lions' Daron Williams kept their teams in the game throughout the half as the Buffaloes took a 35-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
   The second half was much like the first but a more exciting as neither team held more than a six-point lead on the other to keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
   Milligan seemed to have the momentum as they led 65-61 with just minutes left to play but the Lions mounted a comeback to make things interesting.
   "We tried to continue out pressure and make it a 94-foot game," Payne said. "They did a better job of handling it than I thought. From our perspective that's the pace we like to play at."
   Greensboro scored back to back jump shots from Williams and Marcellus Morgan to tie the game at 65-65 and didn't stop there as they quickly jumped to a 69-65 advantage.
   "We had some guys make some shots tonight," said Payne. "Marcus Morgan got some penetration for us and scored some big baskets for us."
   The Buffaloes didn't quit as Derek Dyer tied it up on a lay-up with 1:50 left to play but Greensboro trotted down the court to take the lead once again 71-69.
   After a Greensboro turnover Milligan's Lance Ashby hit a 3-pointer that would have put the Buffaloes up 72-71, but the basket was waived off as timeout was called by the Milligan bench just before the shot was taken.
   "I saw the ball squirt away and I felt that all we we're going to get was a heave," said Wallingford about his thought just before calling the time-out. "I was trying to get us a better shot and we got one but it just didn't go in."
   Milligan had possession with two seconds on the clock but couldn't get a shot off after inbounding the ball as they fell to the Lions 71-69.
   "It's a tough loss for us," said Wallingford. "If we're going to be any good we're going to have to learn from games like this and get better. We let this one slip away but we're just going to have to suck it up and come ready to play."
   For the Buffaloes, Ashby and Andrew Howard led all scores with 16 each as A.J. Hamler had a team-high eight rebounds.
   "We're just striving to get him (Ashby) a little more consistent," Wallingford said. "We've got to do a better job of getting him open."
   Morgan led the way for the Lions with 14 points as B.J. Bryant Jr. also contributed 13 of his own.
   Milligan will travel to Virginia Intermont Saturday to take on the Cobras in hopes to end their losing streak.

   The Lady Buffaloes collected their first win of the season as they defeated the Lady Pioneers of Tusculum College by the score of 61-53 behind the play of junior Nicky Jessen.
   "That was a very good win for us," Milligan coach Rich Aubrey said. "One of the most encouraging things for us tonight was that we had a lot of players contribute."
   On the night Jessen totaled 21 points to go along with six rebounds as Milligan regrouped to come back after trailing 34-28 at the half and knock off Tusculum.
   "Nicky did a great job for us offensively and defensively," said Aubrey. "She made a lot of things happen for us tonight."
   The Buffaloes trailed 50-44 but a clutch three-point shot from former Hampton High standout Ginny White pulled Milligan to within three.
   "We had to stay patient and create some offensive opportunities," Aubrey said. "Ginny White hit a big three and we just started to make plays to help eliminate the deficit."
   Milligan never looked back after Jessen put her team on top with two jump shots giving her team a 53-50 advantage late in the game as the Buffaloes held on to get the win.
   Miranda Greene (13 pts.), Amanda Greene (9 pts.) and Lacy York (9 pts.) also turned in stellar performances to add to the Milligan cause.
   "I'm real pleased with the way we played," Aubrey said. "It was good for us."
   For Tusculum, Whitley Campbell led the way with 14 points while teammates Julie Maples (13 pts.) and Kelley Karns (11 pts.) also contributed.