MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Jan. 13, 2016) – It was only fitting that a game featuring 22 made 3-pointers would be decided by a triple on the last possession. After Kurt Brooks led a rally at the end of regulation and Alex Biggerstaff broke the 11th tie of the game with 10 seconds left in overtime, Reinhardt University’s Corey Ricks sent the Milligan College men’s basketball team to a 104-103 loss Wednesday night at the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
Brooks scored a career-high 34 points, including six in the final minute of regulation and two free throws with seven seconds left that forced overtime. Biggerstaff then looked to have the game winner with a floater from the baseline with under 10 seconds left in overtime, but Ricks’ sixth three of the game proved to be just a little better.
Milligan dropped to 10-6 overall and 6-4 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, while Reinhardt improved to 9-9 and 4-5.
With Milligan trailing by 13, 80-67, with just over six minutes left to play in the game, Gabriel Logan finished with his second layup in just over a minute to ignite a big 10-2 Buff run. The run included a thundering dunk by Will Buckner that brought the crowd to its feet and was finished off with back-to-back threes by Brooks and David Casaday. It also brought the Buffaloes to within five at 82-77 with two minutes left.
Over the next minute of action, another 3-pointer by Casaday followed by a three from Jacob Cawood, Milligan’s fourth three in less than a minute and a half, made it a four-point margin at 88-84.
In the final minute of the second half, Brooks began to take over for the Buffs, hitting a pair from the charity stripe before finishing with a reverse, transition layup to get Milligan within one possession, 91-88, with 41.5 seconds to go.
The Buffs’ fifth 3-pointer in just over two minutes, this one a picture-perfect long range shot from Biggerstaff with 30 seconds left, got Milligan to within two at 93-91 and set up Brooks’ free throws to finish off regulation. Reinhardt had a chance to win it in regulation but missed a 3-pointer that would have left the Buffs no time to answer.
The overtime period began with Milligan’s first five points all coming on free throws before Buckner grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a putback with 1:23 to play, putting Milligan ahead 99-98. The Eagles, however, came right back on the next possession to score an and-one and take a two-point advantage.
Milligan then seemingly had the win in their sights after Brooks scored to open the last minute of the game and Biggerstaff connected from the baseline to put the home team ahead 103-101 with only 8.7 seconds remaining. The feeling of victory did not last long as Reinhardt marched right back down the court, connected on its 13th triple of the game with 2.2 seconds left, and knocked a loose ball away from Brooks on Milligan’s last possession.
In one of the most exciting and high-octane games of the year for the Buffs, Brooks became the latest Buff to reach the 30-point margin since Mickey Woods in December of 2014. Brooks did his damage from everywhere on the court, shooting 50 percent from the field, draining three 3-pointers and hitting 11-15 free throw attempts. Brooks also had six rebounds and three assists to round out his stat sheet even further.
Julian Bailey recorded his sixth straight double-double with 14 points and a career-high 19 boards, and was close to a triple-double after chipping in a career-high seven assists.
Casaday matched a career-high with 17 points and had three 3-pointers as well. Freshmen big men Buckner and Cawood where next in the scoring column with nine points apiece, while Biggerstaff came up big toward the end of the game and finished with eight points on two 3-pointers and his would-be winner.
The Buffs allowed 51 points in the second half for the second straight game, but were able to overcome it as Milligan shot over 50 percent from the field and from three over the last 25 minutes. The Buffs also refused to quit even when trailing by as many as 12 early in the second half, by 13 late in regulation, and by two late in overtime.
Milligan, who began the night in third place in the AAC standings, suffered its sixth straight loss to the Eagles, a squad the Buffs have not beaten in the last three seasons. Additionally, Milligan has now lost 10 of the last 11 games through five seasons against Reinhardt.
Ricks had a game-high 38 points with eight rebounds and six 3-pointers. Josh Stone was next with 15 points, while Nehemiah Jones and William Reid had 11 and 10, respectively.
Next up, Milligan goes on the road to Laurinburg, North Carolina, to face St. Andrews University on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m. The Buffs return to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. for an AAC matchup with No. 21 Tennessee Wesleyan College before two nonconference games.