The Milligan College basketball team will travel to Georgia this weekend without its head coach.
Bill Robinson found out his father had died in New Jersey after the Buffs’ home victory Wednesday night over Barber Scotia. He had reportedly been battling leukemia.
The coach, a native of Ocean City, N.J., will be with his family Saturday while the Buffs play at Point University, assistant Aaron Collazo said Thursday. The school in East Point, Ga., outside Atlanta, is a newcomer to the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Milligan finds itself at 7-10 (3-4 in the conference) after winning three of its last four games. The last two were tight, non-conference victories.
The Buffs rallied from eight down late against Barber Scotia to win 75-74. Tyler DeVault scored six points in the last minute, including the go-ahead free throw with 20 seconds left.
“We were down for a good part of the second half,” said Collazo. “We’ve been in those tough positions too many times this season when things haven’t gone our way. The last two games we found success in close games. We made some free throws late.”
DeVault, a junior forward who played at Sullivan Central, finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Kyle Grisby scored a team-high 18 points.
Grisby continues to lead Buffs in scoring, at 14.2 ppg., while DeVault averages 11.7 and is the top rebounder (6.7). They are the only ones in double figures, but four others average more than seven points per game.
Milligan has bounced back from an eight-game losing streak that stretched from Dec. 5 to Jan. 9.
“We took a hit during that monthlong stretch, but I think the guys have responded well,” said Collazo. “We’re a young team, and we tend to have high highs and low lows. Right now we’re on a high.”
n The women’s team hasn’t won back-to-back games in a month, but coach Rich Aubrey thinks the Lady Buffs will make a strong showing in the second half of the AAC schedule.
“We feel like we’re heading in the right direction,” Aubrey said Thursday. “Six-and-two is leading the league, and we’re 4-4. We had a good, quality win last week at Union, which was nationally ranked, and we went to Wesleyan and played pretty well, even though we came up a little short.
“I thought the win over Columbia last night was a good one.”
The Lady Buffs (12-8) got 18 points from sophomore guard Kayla Kelly to win easily, 87-66. Four teammates also scored in double figures.
Kelly is the team’s leading scorer for the season, at 11.6 ppg., while Alisha Mainer is also in double figures, at 11.4. Mainer, a senior from Flag Pond, just passed the 1,000-point plateua for her career.
“We have six people who average seven points or more,” said Aubrey, “so it’s kind of been a group effort all year. We’re sharing the wealth and have a lot of weapons that can beat you. The disadvantage is that we don’t have that go-to player at the end of these tight games.”
The Lady Buffs shouldn’t have much trouble putting together back-to-back wins Saturday. Point is 1-7 in the league, ahead of only winless Columbia.
Tennessee Wesleyan and Bluefield are tied at the top at 6-2. Four teams are at 5-3.