Buffs best Cincy Bible in opener

Photo by Kristen Luther
Milligan’s Jordan Simmons eyes the bucket down low.

  Much like the 2001 Outkast hit, the Milligan College Buffaloes were fresh, but during parts of Monday's season opener, their play wasn't so clean.
  Ultimately, the team took advantage of a long run in each half to overwhelm Cincinnati Bible College, 71-53.
  The Buffs took the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse floor with just five returning players and eight new faces. Although mistakes were certainly found in the first contest, coach Tony Wallingford was pleased with the effort his squad showed in its debut.
  "They played hard and I could see they were giving a good effort," Wallingford said. "We made some silly mistakes that certainly I think are fixable with a little more concentration.
  "CBC fought hard, so it wasn't going to be easy. It was a good battle, but we've got to make some improvements before we go out of town this weekend."
  Sophomore newcomer Nick Tuggle led the way for Milligan in his first appearance. The Cordova-native scored 13 points with six boards in the contest.
  Senior forward Craig Emmert also reached double digits for the Buffaloes, downing 11 points with five boards and three assists.
  Everyone on Milligan's bench saw action, and the team's point distribution was fairly equal.
  Six other players scored five points or more during the contest, with former Sullivan Central standout Joe Brown's three treys standing out from the bench.
  Freshmen Harvey Bell and Anthony Wilhelm each started for the squad and finished with eight and seven points, respectively.
  One thing the Buffaloes will have to correct is their turnovers.
  Milligan had 13 of its 18 turnovers in the first half, and didn't create many steals or turnovers defensively.
  Wallingford believes that will come down the road when players take charge on the floor.
  "We're telling our guys to be their own captain," the coach said. "That means you get ready to play, motivate somebody and communicate out there. We have eight new players on this team, so it's going to be a process. If they'll keep giving the effort and remain coachable like they are, we'll get better."
  In the first half, Milligan turned a two-point lead into a 19-point lead within five minutes of play late.
  Tuggle, Brown and Abe Wells hit some clutch buckets to lead the squad to a 38-23 lead before the end of the opening frame.
  Cincy had a solid beginning to its second half, cutting Milligan's lead to eight. However, the Buffs responded with their second big run of the game, once Brown hit his final trey.
  Milligan led by 23 points with four minutes left in the game and held the Golden Eagles off.
  Warsaw, Poland's Piotr Poprocki led the way for CBC with 15 points and six rebounds. The team's lone senior, Ryan Maxwell, contributed 10 points.
  Milligan out-rebounded Cincy 45 to 27 and shot much better from the field (56 percent to 29 percent). The Buffaloes shot 50 percent from the three-point line, compared to just seven percent from the Eagles.