The Buffaloes (13-5, 8-4) were led by Aaron Levarity, who finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season. Levarity moved within eight points of the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
The Buffs trailed at the half 37-30, but held the Rams scoreless from the 6:42 mark of the second half to 36 seconds to go, going on a 10-0 to put the win on ice.
“Defensive field goal percentage is one of the biggest things that I specifically look at right away,” Milligan head coach Bill Robinson said. “They shot 46 percent the first half, which was too high and that was a big emphasis at halftime. We really needed to turn up the intensity at the defensive end.”
Tyler Faulkenberry ended his night with 11 points for Milligan including two 3-pointers that helped erase a nine-point deficit and put the Buffs up for good with 5:38 left in the contest.
“Our guards were 0-for-11 from the 3-point line at halftime. We had three 3-point baskets all by our big guys,” Robinson said. “Tyler has been like that the last few games where he’s cold one half and then he gets hot the next half. When he puts two halves together, he can be all conference. … Those two buckets he made were huge. He’s got that shooter’s mentality where he’s going to keep on shooting, even if he misses 10 shots in the first half.”
Tyler Nichols had 13 and Jacob Cawood netted 12 for the Buffs with a balanced scoring sheet as seven different players scored.
Corey Benton led Columbia International with 20 points.
“We spent a lot of time together over the Christmas break and we’ve grown on and off the court,” Robinson said. “I don’t think we practiced any unusual amount of time, but it was the time spent together at the bowling alley, watching football and playing cards at my house. That’s the time that allows you to be more comfortable and trust each other on the court.”
The next game for the Buffs is on the road at St. Andrews on Saturday.
Milligan 90, Columbia International 44
The Lady Buffs (14-3, 12-1) rolled to another AAC victory over Columbia International (0-14, 0-13) and senior Sarah Robinson made some history on the way, scoring her 1,500th point as a Lady Buff by hitting the first of two free throws in the final minute of the third quarter.
“I don’t really have that much to say,” Robinson said. “It’s pretty cool when I have teammates that I get to share it with. They’re part of that and they’ve been so supportive for four years.”
All 14 players that got on the floor for the Lady Buffs scored. Emily Kiser, Hannah Wyrick and Teal Davis all finished with 12 points to lead the way.
The Lady Buffs also had an eye-popping 26 assists on 30 made baskets.
No one scored in double-digits for the Lady Rams.
“Sarah has been a great player over the last four years,” Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey said. “What’s made her so valuable over four years and especially this year is that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. She’s been littering the stat sheet this year. She’s had some big assists-wise.”
After losing three straight road games from Dec. 15 to Jan. 2, the Lady Buffs have righted the ship and won six in-a-row, all by double digits.
“Part of that rhythm is a lot of games in a very short amount of time,” Aubrey said. “We are very much looking forward to a day without basketball tomorrow and that will be good for our players and staff. We’ll come back on Friday and get ready for St. Andrews.”