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Kelly Hodge

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Buffs locked into 4-5 for AAC tourney

February 20th, 2014 9:34 pm by Kelly Hodge

Buffs locked into 4-5 for AAC tourney

A trip to Montreat, N.C., is still special to Milligan College basketball coach Bill Robinson, but Saturday’s regular-season finale there won’t have much impact on his team’s playoff position.

Win or lose, the Buffs are locked into the 4-5 quarterfinal against Bryan at the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament next week in Kingsport. It’s just a question of whether they’re the 4- or 5-seed.

“It depends on whether we wear black or white,” Robinson said Thursday. “Everything else will be the same.”

The Buffs are 16-9 overall and 10-7 in the conference heading into Montreat (14-13, 18-9), the school where Robinson coached before coming to Milligan in 2010.

“Twelve years there is a long time. I probably lost more games there than anybody else,” he said. “It’s always going to be special going back.”

Milligan eeked out a 77-76 victory over the Cavaliers at home.

The Buffs saw a three-game winning streak snapped with a 94-82 loss Monday night at second-place Reinhardt. Mickey Woods scored 30 points — the third time the junior guard has reached that plateau this season — and Torian Sitton added 21 on 10-of-11 shooting to lead Milligan.

It was yet another shootout in a season full of them. The Buffs are averaging 83.7 points per game, which ranks only fourth in the AAC.

Woods (15.2) leads the team in scoring and, says Robinson, “has been our most consistent player all year. All of our guards have been great in spots. If we can all get clicking at the same time, we might have something.”

Union will be the team to beat next week at Meadowview Convention Center. The 24th-ranked Bulldogs are 15-2 in the conference, two games ahead of Reinhardt.

“They’re really talented,” said Robinson. “That’s probably who we’ll get in the semifinals if we win, and that’s a tough matchup. But we played them to an eight-point game here early in the season and missed a bunch of free throws.”

The Buffs split with Bryan (14-14, 9-8) during the regular season, with each team winning on its home floor. Milligan crushed the Lions 88-65 two weeks ago in Lacy Fieldhouse.

“We were up 27 at halftime and laid it on them pretty good,” said Robinson. “Our guards just dominated their guards. Brandon Cole is one of the best players in the conference; he’s a handful.”

Cole, a 6-2 sophomore from Crossville, is second in the AAC in scoring, at 25.4 points per game.

The teams will play Thursday morning at 10:15, tipping off a long day of action in Kingsport.

“It’s an odd time, and we’re obviously not used to playing the morning,” said Robinson. “But if you can win, you get a nice break before you play again. The extra recovery time can be very important.”

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The Lady Buffs are also looking at a fourth-place finish in conference after splitting their last six games.

They’re 12-7 and two games ahead of Reinhardt in heading into Saturday’s game at Montreat (9-9). At the top of the standings are Tennessee Wesleyan (17-2), Union (15-4) and Bryan (13-6).

Union is the only team to sweep Milligan in the regular season.

The Lady Buffs, 16-11 overall, have two of the top five scorers in the AAC in sophomore forward Allison Jones and senior guard Kayla Kelly. Jones is fourth at 15.2 ppg., while Kelly is right behind at 14.5.

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The baseball team is trying to get some momentum going after falling victim to winter weather. 

The Buffs defeated Southern Wesleyan 5-1 on Tuesday to end a 10-day layoff between games because of postponements. Ethan Fleenor and five relievers struck out 11, and Luke Kirk drove in a couple of runs in the victory.

The Buffs hope to get in a three-game series this weekend at Covenant in Lookout Mountain, Ga.

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The softball team is still searching for its first win two weeks into the season. It has started 0-4, with a pair of sweeps at Lincoln Memorial and Mars Hill.

The Buffs postponed a double-header against Southern Wesleyan scheduled for today at Anglin Field to Sunday at 2 p.m.

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Milligan track and field coach Chris Layne has decided to scratch a pre-conference meet this weekend in Boone, N.C., from his schedule.

The Buffs will instead focus on preparations for the NAIA indoor national championships March 6-8 in Geneva, Ohio. The outdoor season begins March 21 in Charlotte.

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