Milligan 90, Truett McConnell 82
The Buffaloes (6-3, 3-2 AAC) shot lights out by hitting 63 percent of their shots for the game, including 11-for-19 on 3-pointers. The Buffs had been struggling shooting the ball coming into the game, only hitting 26 percent from beyond the arc.
“With the way defenses are going to focus on Aaron (Levarity), we have to find other guys to score,” Milligan head coach Bill Robinson said. “We were patient with the offense and we got the ball where we wanted to. We were very unselfish with the ball. We had 19 assists, which I think is a season high.”
Jacob Cawood led the Milligan attack with 17 points while Levarity had another double-double with 16 and 10 rebounds along with five assists. Tyler Nichols had 16 and Tyler Faulkenberry and Bo Pless each had a dozen.
“We have some great players that can score. We have Jacob and Buck on the post and Mike (Featherston) and Deshaun (Green) distributing. We also have good players off the bench,” Levarity said. “We have a very balanced team.”
Pless seemed to find his shooting rhythm again coming off the bench, netting all of his points from the outside and regaining his confidence after struggling most of the season.
“Bo was a career 38 percent shooter coming into this year and I think he was shooting in the single digits so far, so for him to have a night like this is what he needed,” Robinson said. “He’s a wonderful kid and an engineering major with a lot on his plate outside of basketball. This will help him sleep at night.”
The game was back-and-forth most of the night with 16 lead changes and eight ties, but ultimately Milligan just made more shots down the stretch when it needed to.
Milligan 84, Truett McConnell 50
The Lady Buffs kept their perfect season intact, improving to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the AAC. The team also entered the polls for the first time this season, coming in at No. 25.
Emily Kiser was the leading scorer for Milligan, finishing with 14 points and hitting four 3-pointers. Thirteen different players scored for the Lady Buffs on the night.
The balance of the team scoring has been one of the keys to a great start to this season, whereas last season Milligan was barely floating above the Mendoza line.
“We tried to diversify a lot of things last year, especially on defense and it was making things too complicated for them,” Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey said. “This year, we’ve gone back and made everything really simple. Basketball is simple, but it’s not easy. Our players have done a really good job of paying attention to details and looking at the little things. There’s also a different confidence and energy that our players have brought out this year as opposed to last.”
Milligan seized a 25-15 lead in the second quarter and never looked back. The lead grew to as much as 36 points at a few points in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Buffs were particularly good at making the extra pass and sharing the basketball, which has been their calling card all season.
“We had 19 assists on 29 field goals and that’s the way we’ve been playing over the last few games. We’ve been moving the ball and sharing it well,” Aubrey said.
Late in the game, the second unit got some work in for Milligan and former Unicoi County standout Halie Padgett had six points and is what Aubrey calls “a bright spot.”
“Haile has a nose for the ball and she knows a how to put the ball in the basket. She’s been a bright spot this fall on the junior varsity team and she’s been playing really well. We knew her opportunity was going to come and we knew that when she got it, she’d take advantage of it,” he said.