Buffs 'crown' Crusaders

By Allen LaMountain

   Despite a 12-point halftime advantage, the Milligan College Buffaloes did not let off the throttle in the second half. Instead, Milligan put on a sensational run -- keeping the Crown College Crusaders off the scoreboard for nine plus minutes -- to rout Crown 89-42 at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
   Milligan (3-5) was led by the forward tandem of Craig Emmert and Jonathan Harris who each tallied 22 points as the Buffs snapped a three game losing streak.
   "In the first half we had success inside against their man defense," said Emmert, who finished 8-of-13 from the floor (61.5 percent). "In the second half I didn't realize we had held them scoreless for so long until I looked up at the clock during a timeout. This may have been the most complete game we have played so far."
   At the break Milligan held a 37-25 advantage behind Harris' 12 points and Emmert's 11 as the Crusaders (2-2) had a tough time running the floor with the faster Buffs. Junior forward Joe Weido led Crown's first-half scoring with nine before finishing with 20 points on the night.
   "We didn't do a good job of helping Weido out scoring-wise," said Crown assistant coach James Bixler. "Weido is our go-to guy and he has averaged around 34 points-per-game for us. Tonight, we were not aggressive enough."
   The second half opened with the Buffs extending to a 54-29 lead in the early going before reeling off a 14-7 run to open up a 68-38 advantage.
   "That offensive run was created by good defense," commented Buffs head coach Tony Wallingford. "We hit the boards and got off some quick, good shots. I was encouraged by the way the team looked for each other on the floor. It was good team play."
   The next Milligan offensive explosion closed the door on Crown as the Buffs went on a 15-0 run - ignited by an Emmert slam - for an 83-38 lead and the crusading was over for Crown on this night.
   "This game was a good tune up for conference play," said Emmert. "Crown's zone defense gave us some trouble, but we were determined to stay on the boards. We played well tonight."
   Harris proved to be a force inside for the Buffs as he shot a lights-out 11-of-13 from the floor in addition to picking Crown's pockets for three steals and six rebounds. Milligan out-rebounded Crown 34-27, but the margin was much larger on the offensive end of the court.
   "Harris got in a little bit of a hurry in the first half," Wallingford said. "But he is very tough around the basket and he got settled in the second half and played well."
   Former Science Hill standout JaKeith Hairston scored a season-high 12 points -- shooting seven-of-11 from the charity stripe and was one-of-one from the floor.
   "We knew coming in that Crown wasn't a big, physical team," said Wallingford. "They are a good basketball team, but when they went cold we were able to close it out on them."