Milligan splits with Tennessee Wesleyan on the college court

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Feb. 8, 2016) – Kurt Brooks led both teams with 11 points in the first half and scored 13 in the second to finish with a game-high 24, but it was not enough as the Milligan College men’s basketball team fell to No. 15 Tennessee Wesleyan College 87-64 Monday night at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.

The loss dropped Milligan’s record to 13-9 overall and 9-7 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Wesleyan’s raised to an AAC-leading 22-1 and 14-1 as it won its 20th straight game, and remained the only conference team still undefeated on the road (12-0). Additionally, the Buffs fell to 0-4 this season against top-25 nationally ranked teams despite handing the Bulldogs their only defeat of the season back on Nov. 18 in the league opener.

Brooks, who scored 26 points and hit the game-winner in the first outing against the Bulldogs this season, tried his best to keep Milligan in this one. The senior began the second half with 10 points in six minutes, hitting two 3-pointers and making 4-of-4 technical free throw attempts. Then, a layup by another senior, Julian Bailey, at the 14-minute mark got the Buffs back under single digits at 58-49 and finished an 8-2 Milligan run that featured another layup by yet another senior, James Songster.

That was, however, the closest Milligan would get in the second half as two more free throw by Brooks at the 9:34 mark broke a four and a half minute scoreless streak for the Buffs that saw Wesleyan score six straight points and expand its lead back up to 15 at 64-49.

Alex Biggerstaff’s second three of the game near the six-minute mark then broke an eight-minute span without a field goal for the Buffs, who only had three free throws from Brooks and two from Jacob Cawood during the span while being outscored 14-5. The shot by Biggerstaff, which came on an assist by Songster, led to another jumper from long-range for Biggerstaff, and was followed by a fastbreak score from Tyler Nichols to make it 76-62.

All but two of Brooks’ points came from the free throw line or behind the arc as he finished 10-of-13 from the foul line and was 4-of-9 from 3-point range. It marked the third time this season Brooks made 10 or more free throws in one contest, and was also the third time so far he has made four or more from long range. Additionally, it was his eighth game of the year scoring 20 or more points.

Biggerstaff was next in the scoring column as his three triples gave him nine points, and Bailey finished with eight, marking his lowest scoring output of the season and only the second time he has failed to reach double-digit scoring. Songster led Milligan with six rebounds, and also had a game-high with five assists. Songster has grabbed five or more boards in seven of the last nine games, and has had five helpers in two straight.

Despite allowing the Bulldogs to score 43 points in the opening half on 53.1 percent shooting (17-32), the Buffs were able to hold TWC to only 20 percent shooting from three (2-10) and less than 50 percent shooting from the line (7-15) to stay within shouting distance down 12.

The major difference early on was a 3-pointer by Charles White and a fastbreak bucket by Leland Robinson that made it 11-4 Bulldogs five minutes in. The scores were part of a 9-2 TWC run that made it 17-6 and put the Buffs down 11 early.

Milligan responded with three 3-pointers, one each by Cawood, Biggerstaff and Brooks, with the first and last being assisted by Songster, to get the margin down to seven three times, then another three by Brooks at the 4:54 mark got the Buffs to within five at 31-26.

Then, after TWC’s second dunk of the first half, this one by Tre Tiller, Nichols answered with a steal and a fastbreak dunk to get the crowd back into the game. After Nichols’ score and two made free throws by Brooks made it 37-30, the Buffs went scoreless for two and a half minutes before another free throw by Brooks broke the dry spell.

Brooks, who entered the game fourth in the AAC in scoring, was able to outdo the second leading scorer in the conference, Robinson (22.2) of the Bulldogs, who finished with 21. Robinson added 14 rebounds for a double-double, while Suttles led TWC with 22 points and four assists. White added 15 points while Tiller had 12 and four assists. Lastly, the top two in steals in the AAC, White (2.6) and Suttles (2.1) both finished with three steals on Monday.

Milligan remains at home twice this week, starting on Wednesday, Feb. 10, for a 7 p.m. game against the Royals of Johnson University, and ending on Saturday, Feb 13, against Point University at 4 p.m.


MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Feb. 8, 2016) – After senior Allison Jones hit four of her first five shots and scored eight of the Buffaloes first 10 points of the game, the start of the second half is when the duo that has been leading the Buffs all season long took over. The No. 21 Milligan College women’s basketball team earned a sweep over Tennessee Wesleyan College with a 70-64 win Monday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.

With the win, Milligan began the month 3-0 for the third time in four months this season, held on to first place in AAC standings, and improved to 21-5 overall and 15-2 in the conference, where they have a half-game lead over the rest of the field.

After Jones scored eight points in the first quarter, freshman Sarah Robinson scored eight straight herself in the third quarter as the two combined for Milligan’s first 10 points of the second half and seven of their first 10 in the fourth. Jones also scored five points and added an assist on a 7-0 Buffs’ run late in the game that gave Milligan its largest lead to that point at 57-48.

In the end, Jones finished with a season-high 25 points and a career high 12 rebounds for the second double-double of her final campaign. Robinson had 16 points and 11 boards for her 11th double-double, the second most in the Appalachian Athletic Conference so far this season.

After defeating then-ranked No. 23 Tennessee Wesleyan back on Nov. 18, Milligan has now won two straight over Tennessee Wesleyan (11-8, 11-6) after falling to TWC in the AAC tournament final last year, keeping the Buffs one game away from a berth in the NAIA National Tournament. Additionally, the sweep was the Buffs sixth in the AAC and seventh in nine chances overall this year.

The third and fourth quarters started the same way as Jones finished with a layup followed by a Robinson layup in each, but it was the second 3-pointer of the game for Lindsee Price followed by a free throw that put the Buffs ahead 61-52 with only a minute left in the game. However, despite two and-ones, a 3-pointer and two more scores by TWC in the final minute, Jones and Robinson refused to lose as Jones went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final 50 seconds before Robinson hit two more free throws to make it a six-point game, 68-62, with only 17.5 seconds remaining.

The difference in the first half came with one second remaining as Price came up with a steal off the turnover from Destanie Smith and made a long 3-pointer with the buzzer sounding as the ball was still in the air. The shot by Price ended a 7-0 Buffs’ run that began at the 1:07 mark with scores by Andi Lamb and later by Courtney Wilson.

Wilson was the third and final Buff in double figures as she finished with 11 points. Price, who is second in the AAC at 3.56 assists per contest, finished with three helpers, seven points and four steals. Price’s effort was her second straight game with at least three assists and three steals, while her numbers were matched by four steals from Jones and three assists from Robinson.

Jara Gasper, the third leading scorer in the AAC at 15.9 points per game, finished with 19 points while Melanie Barker, who is fifth in the conference in field goal percentage, finished with 14. Hunter Simpson and Kelsey Young both added 11 points.

Milligan remains at home on Saturday, Feb. 13, for a 2 p.m. matchup with the team that handed the Buffs their first AAC loss of the year, Point University, back on Jan. 9. Then, Milligan travels to Dayton, Tennessee, to play the team directly behind itself in the standings, No. 25 Bryan College, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17.


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