MILLIGAN COLLEGE — Even after a dominant first half and a good start to the second half, Milligan was still forced to re-establish itself against Point College.
After watching an 18-point second-half lead slip to eight, the Buffaloes responded with a quick spurt to regain control and eventually defeated the Skyhawks 86-72 on Saturday afternoon at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
“Both (Tyler) DeVault and (Torian) Sitton made big shots when they were making a run,” said Milligan head coach Bill Robinson. “That's what leaders have to do.”
DeVault and Sitton combined for 39 points as Milligan (6-2, 13-7) stayed on the heels of first-place Tennessee Wesleyan in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Also Saturday, the Lady Buffaloes ran away for a 71-46 victory to remain in first place in the AAC. Milligan is 8-1 in league play and 15-7 overall.
In the first half of the men's game, Milligan broke away from a 10-10 tie with a 12-0 run to take control. The Buffaloes pretty much maintained a double-digit advantage, and led 36-20 at the break.
“I thought our defense was great in the first half,” said Robinson. “We've started believing in defending together. That has been the biggest point: five players against one basketball.”
Then Milligan soared to a 48-30 advantage six minutes into the second half. However, Point came to life with a 15-5 run to cut the lead to single digits.
“We knew we had to come out strong in the first five minutes of the second half,” said DeVault. “Then they made a run, and we had to get our composure back. Then we made another run.”
Milligan went on a 10-4 spurt, and Point didn't get into single digits again.
Sitton had an impressive game for the Buffaloes, totaling 21 points with five rebounds and three assists. He went 9 of 9 from the free throw line, and said Milligan is starting to show its true colors.
“In the beginning we knew we could do it,” said Sitton. “Then we started believing in ourselves, trusting each other, and letting our defense spark our offense.”
DeVault finished with 18 points while Scott Blake was red-hot from trey land and totaled 17 points. Blake made 5 of 9 attempts from behind the arc.
Mickey Woods also dialed up the three ball, hitting 4 of 5 and totaling 16 points. Cartree Pettis had a behind-the-scenes nice stat line of seven points, seven rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers in 34 minutes.
Bernard Parks and Brannon Hopkins each totaled 16 points for the Skyhawks.
Milligan travels to play Johnson University on Tuesday.
Milligan (women) 71
An aggressive and balanced attack was way too much for Point to handle.
Milligan had four players reach double figures, led by a 15-point, 6-rebound effort from Dorian Freeman. The Lady Buffs built a 38-21 halftime lead and never looked back. Head coach Rich Aubry said he liked the way his team attacked the basket.
“We talked about what we really needed to do, which was get the ball to the rim,” said Aubry. “When you attack the rim, you also wind up getting better 3-point shots.”
Kayla Kelly totaled 14 points and nine rebounds while Johneshia Good had a nice all-around effort with 11 points, six steals and five assists.
“Last week we were just settling for jumpers, but today we had some real good drives,” said Good. “We just preach defense, defense, defense, and that makes the offense come easier.”
Jaimee Hill rounded out the double-figure scoring with 10 points and also added five rebounds.
Point did not have any players reach double figures.