KINGSPORT, TN- The Milligan College men’s basketball team wrapped up the NAIA DII Showcase in Kingsport on Sunday against the Golden Bears of West Virginia University Institute of Technology. The Buffalo offense sputtered in the game and shot a season low 32.7% from the field, resulting in a 68-51 defeat, the team’s lowest point total so far this season.
Milligan (4-5, 2-1 AAC) started the game slow and fell behind 17-9 in the first 10 minutes. With five minutes left in the first half, the Buffaloes trailed 15-25 before a pair of Tyler Nichols field goals and a three pointer from Tyler Faulkenberry cut the lead down to three. A field goal from Will Buckner in the closing seconds kept the deficit at three and the Buffaloes remained in striking distance at the half, trailing 32-29.
On the Buffaloes’ first possession of the second half, another Nichols field goal cut the lead down to one. However, Milligan never managed to overtake the Golden Bears’ lead. WVU Tech responded with a 16-4 run that put the game out of reach.
Behind eight second half points from Patrick Gnagbo and seven from Ryan Atkins, the Golden Bears ran away with the 68-51 victory.
Milligan struggled on offense throughout the game, shooting 17 of 52 from the field and three of 22 from beyond the arc. The Buffs went 0 for 8 from downtown in the second half.
The Buffaloes also struggled on the boards and were outrebounded 58 to 28 and surrendered 24 offensive rebounds to the Golden Bears.
Milligan’s defense provided a bright spot in the game, despite facing the seventh highest scoring offense in NAIA DII basketball (95.6 PPG). The Buffaloes held WVU Tech to its third lowest point total of the season. Only No. 19 ranked West Virginia University (NCAA DI) and Southeastern University have held the Golden Bears to lower point totals. The Buffaloes also forced 17 turnovers in the game to WVU Tech’s 12. However, Milligan could not execute on the offensive end of those turnovers and were outscored 16-8 in points off turnovers.
The Buffaloes return home for their next game on Wednesday and will host Appalachian Athletic Conference rival Reinhardt University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.
Courtesy: Milligan Athletics