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Nichols, Green lead Milligan over Tennessee Wesleyan

Jeff Birchfield • Jan 22, 2020 at 9:43 PM

Tyler Nichols was strong in his first game back from a shoulder injury and Desean Green came close to a triple-double as Milligan College took care of business against Tennessee Wesleyan on Wednesday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.

Nichols finished with a team-high 15 points, while Green accounted for 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the Buffs won 70-66 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference basketball game over the Bulldogs. Green talked about his all-around game and coming up a little shy of the elusive triple-double.

“I’ve come close to a triple-double three times this season and it’s kind of frustrating,” Green said. “But, it’s fun because I like to do everything on the court. That’s my job to lead as the point guard, and the chemistry with me and Tyler, it’s just great to have him back. I stayed at his house over the summer and we have such a good bond.”

The Buffs (12-7, 10-5) struggled offensively in the first half, hitting 13 of 33 from the field, but they just trailed 38-31 at the break. Milligan coach Bill Robinson’s message at halftime was simple. Look at the overall records and the Buffs should win

“I looked at the stat sheet at halftime and I told the guys the biggest one that stands out is we’re 9-5 in the conference and they’re 4-9, and we’re at home,” Robinson said. “We can’t lose to that team. They’ve got talent, but we really need to get this win.”

Milligan closed within one, 40-39, early in the second half but the Buffs didn’t take the lead until Jacob Cawood’s free throw made it 47-46 at the 12:50 mark. It was Milligan’s first lead since two minutes into the game.

The Buffs kept pressing on with Nichols’ layup providing the game’s first double-digit lead at 66-56.

Featherson had a monster game defensively with 16 rebounds and four blocked shots. Cawood scored 11 points and Bo Pless added nine in the victory.

Green talked about it being the first time all season where both Nichols and Trevor Hensley were healthy, giving Milligan a quartet of guards that were hard to handle.

“We’re really dangerous with Mike, Tyler and Trevor on the court,” Green said. “Mike has such a defensive prowess with what he does every game. You have Tyler who likes to drive and slash and then Trevor likes to shoot. How do you guard us?”

Dominique Oggs led Tennessee Wesleyan (6-11, 4-10) with 15 points, followed by Bryant Bernard with 14 and Lorenzo Gatling with 11.

Women

Milligan 64, Tennessee Wesleyan 53

Kaely Gose had 21 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Lady Buffs (10-12, 8-8) to a comeback win over the Lady Bulldogs (7-10, 7-7).

Gose, a senior post, hit 7-of-14 shots from the field and was 7-for-8 at the free-throw line. Like the rest of her team, she was struggling on the offensive end early.

“It was really hard to get the ball inside in the first half,” Gose said. “At halftime, we talked about spacing out more where we could get it in. That got me some shots close to the basket where I could score. It was a really good team effort.”

Trailing by one at the break, Milligan scored the first eight points of the second half on its way to the victory.

The Lady Buffs overcame a slow start, down 13-4 in the first quarter, to trail 20-19 at the half.

Halie Padgett completed the turnaround with a close-range shot to give the Buffs an early lead in the third quarter. Gose and Bailey Berry had 3-point plays on the next pair of possessions as Milligan raced out to a 27-20 lead.

Milligan maintained between a five to 11-point advantage the rest of the way.

Lily Griffith finished with 14 points and six rebounds for Milligan, while Padgett scored 12 points.

“We used the word resilience for a long time because we had to bounce back from some adversity. We can change that word to confidence,” Milligan coach Rich Aubrey said. “Tonight really tested our confidence because we couldn’t buy a basket early. We stayed the course, defended well most of the four quarters. We rebounded well and when we got rolling on offense, we were very efficient.”

Carlie Runyan, Kaitlyn Strange and Hannah Cherry each scored eight points to lead Tennessee Wesleyan.

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