Milligan College men’s basketball falls to No. 16 Cumberlands in season opener

Sports
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Aaron Levarity poured in 14 of his 18 points in the second half, but the Milligan College basketball team dropped their first game of the 2018-2019 season 63-58 on the road against No. 16 University of the Cumberlands, an NAIA Division I school, Thursday night at O. Wayne Rollins Arena.

The Buffaloes (0-1) struggled to get much going offensively for most of the night, but were able to hang around thanks to a strong defensive effort. Milligan forced 14 turnovers on the night and held the Patriots (1-0) to a 38.2 percent clip from the field.

Desean Green led the defensive charge with four steals, while Mike Featherston, Jacob Cawood, Tyler Faulkenberry and Will Buckner each recorded one.

Levarity, a 2017-2018 NAIA All-America honorable mention, hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with his 18 points en route to a double-double to lead the way for Milligan. Tyler Nichols registered 11 points and six rebounds, while Green followed with seven points, five rebounds and two assists.

Overall, the Buffs were 20 of 60 from the field and outrebounded the Cumberlands 43-41 on the night. The biggest difference in the contest came from the 3-point line as Milligan finished the game 0-10 from downtown, while the Patriots knocked down six threes on 26 attempts.

The Cumberlands were led by Jahi Hinson and Anthony Eaves who knocked in 16 and 15 points respectively.

Milligan held a slim lead for the majority of the first half, but the nationally ranked Patriots would get things going in the final five minutes to regain the lead for good. With the Buffs leading 19-15 at the 5:29 mark, the Cumberlands scored 14 of the next 15 points to take a nine point advantage into the locker room.

The Patriots would open up as large of a lead as 15 in the second half, but Milligan wouldn’t go down without a fight. Trailing 39-25 with 15 minutes remaining, the Buffs used a 14-4 run over the course of the next five and a half minutes to trim the lead to four points.

Cumberlands would respond with a 5-0 run of their own, which was enough to put the game away for good as Milligan struggled to make enough timely shots.

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Milligan will host Johnson University inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse for their 2018-2019 home opener Thursday, Nov. 1, with tip-off set for approximately 8 p.m.

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