There is no place like home for the Milligan College men’s basketball team.
Playing in the friendly confines of Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, the Buffs hit 7 of 12 shots behind the 3-point line Saturday in a 77-71 victory over Appalachian Athletic Conference rival Bryan.
“We were 7 of 12 from the 3-point line, and that’s being at home, being familiar with our surroundings,” Milligan head coach Bill Robinson said. “We obviously play better here. We played a lot of road games early, so it’s about time we got some home games.”
Facing some of those early road tests, it was second win in the last six games for the Buffs, who men improved to 9-14 overall and 5-8 in the AAC. Bryan fell to 11-15, 6-6 with the loss.
“It’s hard to tell by our record, but we have been improving and getting better,” Robinson said. “We just keep telling them to keep looking at the big picture. We have to continue to look at what is in front of us instead of what is behind us. Even when we commit a turnover, we yell out next play and try to get them to forget about it.”
The teams jockeyed for control in the first half with Milligan taking a 38-34 lead into the break. In the second half, however, the Buffs led the entire way, up by 10 points in the final minute before a couple of quick Bryan scores.
Featuring a balanced attack of inside and outside play, Milligan guards Kyle Grisby and Mickey Woods put up big numbers.
Grisby had game-highs of 20 points and six assists, while Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points.
Besides their own slashing to the basket, they got help on the inside with posts Marshall Hardy and Cordero Seymour each scoring 10 points.
“We just kept feeding it into the post,” Grisby said. “We had to be make sure we were solid with the ball, tried to make contact and finish it off at the free-throw line.”
The strategy worked as Milligan had 12 more free-throw attempts and scored seven more points at the foul line.
However, it wasn’t just on the offensive end where the Buffs faced challenges. On the other end of the court, Grisby met his match, guarding equally quick point guard Dion Fair, who ended up with 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Bryan.
“He’s just like me in a sense,” Grisby said. “He has a nice pull-up game, a nice jump shot. He forces you to make tough decisions.”
Carrin Nash added another 13 points and Carrin Nash tallied 11 for the Lions.
Still, they weren’t able to shut down Milligan’s backcourt tandem, who also got some valuable time off the bench from backup point guard Bryant Edwards.
“One thing that Bryan does is they double the posts,” Robinson said. “They try to make somebody else hurt you. We were fortunate to get some points off cutters, and our guards made some shots.”
Milligan (women) 80
The Lady Buffs opened with the first seven points of the game, part of a larger 16-3 run, and never looked back to beat the Lady Lions.
Milligan, which led 40-24 at the half, improved to 15-11 overall and 7-7 in the AAC. Bryan fell to 12-13 and 3-11.
“We were playing really good in the first half,” Lady Buffs freshman Chelsey Weddle said. “It makes it fun. I just love playing on this team.”
Ashlee Price came off the bench to give the Lady Buffs 11 points in the first half.
Weddle scored 14 points to tie Kayla Kelly as Milligan’s leading scorer. Weddle’s performance included a stretch of eight straight points in the second half when the Lady Buffs pushed the lead out to 27 points.
Weddle, a former Hampton High School standout, ended up 5-for-5 from the field, and was 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.
“It felt just like high school, probably the best I’ve played since I’ve been here,” she said. “It’s an incredible opportunity, especially as a freshman. It feels great, made even better by how well we played as a team.”
Morgan Burnette had a game-high 21 to lead Bryan. Sarah Newton and Kaylan Dilts each ended with 10 points in a losing cause.