Milligan edges Bryan in tight AAC battle

Published 5:40 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

In the first game of the new year, the Milligan College men’s basketball team picked up a crucial 71-66 road win over Appalachian Athletic Conference foe Bryan College Wednesday night behind 18 points and 13 rebounds from Aaron Levarity.

With the win, the Buffaloes improved to 8-5 (4-4 AAC) overall while the Lions fell to 6-8 (4-5) on the year.


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After Bryan tied the game for the sixth time at 63 all, Levarity put the Buffs ahead for good inside the paint and Jacob Cawood sealed the win from the charity stripe. Cawood was 4-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds as he helped keep the Lions at arm’s length.

Milligan led by nine at the half, but Bryan continued to claw their way back into the contest in the second half and eventually took their first lead of the game at 51-50 with 8:20 remaining. Cawood made sure the Lions’ lead was short lived as he drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession. The Buffs did not trail the remainder of the contest.

Bryan managed to stay within striking distance, but in the end the stellar play of Levarity and Cawood was just too much to overcome.


Milligan scored 12 of the first 16 points of the contest to jump out to the early lead, but the Lions hung tough and eventually tied the game at 29-29. Both teams traded threes on their following possessions before the Buffs used a 12-0 run to open up the game.

Levarity, who scored seven of the 12 points during the run, started the surge at the 3:18 mark and Cawood capped it with two seconds remaining in the half. The Lions answered with a three to close out the period, but Milligan headed to the locker room with a 44-35 lead.


The double-double was Levarity’s 10th of the season as the senior forward continues to put together a stellar final campaign. Levarity leads the AAC in points per game, rebounds per game and entered the contested tied for the league lead in double-doubles. The senior also ranks second nationally in offensive rebounds per game and third in rebounds per game.

Cawood poured in 16 points to join Levarity as the only other Buff in double figures. The redshirt junior was big from the foul line as he drained 8-of-10 attempts. Tyler Nichols just missed out on double figures as he finished with nine points and Desean Green added eight.

Will Buckner, Tyler Faulkenberry and Bo Pless each chipped in six points to help Milligan out offensively.

Overall, the Buffs shot 41.9 percent from the field while holding Bryan to a 40.3 percent clip. Entering the night, Milligan ranked fourth nationally in 3-point field goal defense and did not disappoint as they held the Lions to 21.1 percent from downtown.

Milligan posted a season-low eight turnovers and were clutch from the foul line in the second half as they made 8 of 11 attempts. Defensively, the Buffs forced 11 turnovers, recorded six steals and blocked six shots.


Bryan was led by Isaiah McClain with 15 points and EJ Bush with 14 points and nine rebounds.


Milligan remains on the road for an AAC matchup against Point University Saturday at 4 p.m. before returning home to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse Thursday, Jan. 10, against Bluefield College. Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 7:30 p.m. against the Rams.