Milligan College basketball coach Bill Robinson wasn’t sure his team left East Tennessee State with anything more than hurt feelings last week.
Now he thinks the 48-point loss was a painful learning experience.
The Buffs bounced back to win their next two games and improve to 5-4 on the season. They opened a four-game homestand with an 88-77 conference victory over Montreat, then defeated Alice Lloyd 74-63 on Monday night.
“It’s always easier when you go back to playing schools at your own level,” Robinson said Wednesday. “Just the physicalness and quickness of it, ETSU was a very tough matchup for us. They always are.
“Going back to our level, things have slowed down and we’ve played pretty well. So I do think it has helped us.”
The Buffs have been spreading the points around. Five players scored in double figures in the last game, and four the game before that.
For the season, Tyler DeVault, Cartree Pettis, Torian Sitton and Mickey Woods are all averaging at least 10 ppg.
“That’s what I really like about this team,” said Robinson. “There’s not one guy scoring 30, but three or four who are in double figures most every night. We share the ball.”
DeVault, the senior center from Kingsport, leads the team with a 14.3 average. He’s also the leading rebounder, at 6.3.
“He’s always going to get a lot of minutes,” said Robinson, “and we’re going to throw the ball in there and let him go to work.”
The Buffs played five games in eight days but have had a little break to get ready for a non-conference rematch with Selma University tonight in Lacy Fieldhouse. They lost to the Bulldogs 79-68 in Alabama in the season opener.
Robinson didn’t make that trip, having undergone back surgery a few days earlier, and he doesn’t know much about Selma. He’s just glad to have some practice time.
“It’s nice to have a couple of days to prepare, get our legs back and put some shots up,” said Robinson. “We haven’t had that in awhile.”
The women’s basketball team saw its five-game win streak come to an end Tuesday night at UVA-Wise.
The Lady Buffs fell behind by 17 at half and never threatened the Lady Cavs in a 72-50 non-conference loss. They’re now 7-3 on the season.
“Wise is a very good team and was playing with a lot of confidence,” said coach Rich Aubrey. “It was a tough matchup for us anyway, and we didn’t play very well.”
The Lady Buffs have four more non-conference games ahead before resuming Appalachian Athletic Conference play after Christmas. They'll play two in Salem, W.Va., this weekend -- Salem International on Friday night and West Virginia Tech on Saturday.
“We’re fortunate to have won our two conference games before Christmas,” said Aubrey, “and now we have some time to grow. Hopefully when we get back into conference we’ll be a little more complete team. We want to deepen our rotation a little bit and improve our rebounding.
“I think we have a tremendous upside. We’ve played pretty well and we’re still a long way from our potential. There are a lot of things we can do better.”
The Milligan swimming program has new leadership.
Raymond Weston, a decorated swimmer at Nazareth College who has been coaching at a New York high school, was named on Monday. His duties will begin Jan. 2.
“It really is a dream come true to have the chance to pursue a life goal of being a coach at the college level,” Weston said in a statement. “There is a strong foundation in place with this team, and I cannot wait to build off that foundation and help shape the lives of my student-athletes in a positive manner for years to come.”
Weston set four school records as a swimmer at Nazareth, located in Rochester, N.Y., and was a national champion in the two-mile open water competition. He was an assistant coach at his alma mater for one year after graduation before moving on to Midlake High School in Clifton Springs, N.Y.
He takes over a Milligan program that has finished in the top 20 nationally for three straight seasons under former coach Terry Caldwell, who resigned to take a business job in his hometown of Bristol, Va.
Chris Ochieng was an honorable mention on the NAIA All-America soccer team announced Tuesday.
The senior from Nairobi, Kenya was the AAC player of the year after leading the Buffs with 36 points. His 17 goals ranked 26th nationally.
For his career, Ochieng had 32 goals and 12 assists.
Andrew Simenson of Science Hill will sign a golf scholarship next Wednesday. The ceremony will take place at 3 o’clock in the new Science Hill gym.