MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2017) – The Milligan College men’s basketball team resumed Appalachian Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night after playing Warren Wilson College on Monday. The Buffaloes took on the Montreat Cavaliers, the current number two team in the conference standings. Behind the rowdiest home crowd of the season, the Buffaloes upset the Cavaliers 98-93.
Milligan (11-11, 7-7 AAC) led for the majority of the game and every time Montreat came up with a shot, the Buffaloes responded. After leading much of the first half, a pair of three point field goals from Montreat’s Terrell Sheffey put the Cavaliers up 37-35, their first lead in over 15 minutes. However, their lead did not last long, as freshman point guard Daxton Bostian responded with a layup on Milligan’s next possession. A few minutes later, Bo Pless hit his only three of the game to restore the Buffalo lead, 40-39. In the final minutes of the first half, the teams went back and forth and ended in a 43-43 tie.
The Buffaloes set the tone early in the second half. On the first possession, junior guard David Casaday took a charge that resulted in two points on the other end. Throughout the second half, the Cavaliers came up with big plays to keep them within striking distance. At the 14 minute mark, a Milligan turnover led to a transition dunk for Montreat’s Jaron Hemphill and cut the Buffalo led to one. Senior Alex Biggerstaff immediately responded on the next possession with a three, putting Milligan up 60-56.
With just over ten minutes left in the game, the Cavaliers sunk a pair of free throws and gave them a 69-68 lead. Once again, Milligan responded, this time with a Jacob Cawood three pointer. The sophomore’s three put the Buffs up 71-69, a lead they did not let go of the remainder of the game.
Free throws were key down the stretch. Between the five minute mark and the final minute, Cawood hit five of six free throws and kept Milligan out front. In the final 30 seconds, Bostian showed tremendous poise with the game on the line. He went to the line twice and hit four free throws to ice the game.
“It’s a great win for our guys,” Head Coach Bill Robinson said after the upset. “We don’t have a quality win against a top team in the conference, so it’s a big win for us right now. Tonight was hopefully a great momentum shift into the rest of the season.”
Bostian and Cawood led the Buffs in both scoring and rebounds. Both players scored over 20, with Bostian scoring 21 and Cawood 26, and added seven and six rebounds respectively. Tyler Nichols and Will Buckner both reached double figures as well, scoring 13 and 10 respectively.
“Cawood has just been playing better and better. It’s not often that your four man is your most consistent three point shooter,” Robinson said. “With Daxton, you can’t ask anymore of him than what he did tonight. He did a great job for a freshman to be able to play in that kind of atmosphere, that kind of pressure all game long. He never got tired and looked like he could go another half if he had to. His leadership is showing more every day.”
The Buffs are on the road for their next two games, starting with a matchup at Truett-McConnell on Saturday. Milligan returns to the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse the following Saturday against conference leader Union