Coming out of a timeout with his Buffaloes holding a two-point lead against Columbia International, coach Bill Robinson had the perfect call for a back-door cut. It was executed by Jacob Cawood after perfectly timed bounce pass from Mike Featherson. From there, the Buffs held on for a 74-70 Appalachian Athletic Conference win at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
Cawood finished with a game-high 24 points. The back-door cut was part of a stretch where he made four straight free throws and scored six straight points.
“We made the plays to take the momentum away from the opponent,” Cawood said. “You feel all that adrenaline and it’s good for us because it gets us going on a roll. We struggled making those free throws down the stretch the first half of the season. As you can see in a four-point game, that’s the difference between a win and a loss.”
The game of evenly matched teams featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes. Overall, Milligan made 8 of 10 free throws over the final 2:17. The misses came once the game was settled with 2.4 seconds left.
Milligan, which committed just six turnovers all game, improved to 11-7 overall and 9-5 in the conference.
“I told the guys we had to play hard and we had to play well,” Robinson said. “We got down six points in the second half. Nobody panicked and the guys made big plays. Cawood was great again.
“On the one play, they had been switching everything — so on the timeout, we inverted two positions so Cawood would get the slip. Mike is a great passer and he made the delivery. That was a big play at a big time.”
Nathan Hastings finished with 12 points for Milligan. Trevor Hensley, who has been making up for lost time since getting a late start to the season due to injury, scored 11. The balanced attack also included Desean Green with 10 points and nine assists, and Featherson’s eight points.
Arthur Pearson led the Rams (12-6, 9-6) with 17 points. Eric Graham with 12 and Jeff Mcilwain with 10 also reached double figures.
Milligan College 72, Columbia International 51
Kaely Gose coupled 19 points with 10 rebounds and the Lady Buffs (9-12, 7-8) led from start to finish for their fourth win in a row. Milligan held CIU (3-13, 2-12) to 29 percent shooting, including an 0-for-8 effort from 3-point range.
Due to foul trouble, Gose had just four points and one rebound at halftime but came on strong in the second half. Emily Kiser scored 11 points and Bailey Berry added 10. Halie Padgett contributed eight points and eight rebounds.
Milligan jumped out to a 23-13 lead at the end of one quarter only to see CIU score the first eight points of the second quarter. The Buffs responded by outscoring them 12-1 the rest of the half for a 35-24 lead.
“We had a road game Wednesday night at Kentucky Christian and it was the same way,” Milligan coach Rich Aubrey said. “We had a great start and they made runs, but we answered every run. We did that today and we did without our two best post players — Kaely and Halie — on the floor. They were in foul trouble, so we subbed — but the group which finished the half did a great job.”
The Lady Buffs pushed the lead to 55-37 at the end of three quarters and to as many as 24 points in the final quarter.
Jordan Sprueill led the Lady Rams with 17 points and 11 rebounds.