Strong first half leads Buffs past KCU
Published 11:31 am Thursday, January 27, 2022
CONTRIBUTED BY MILLIGAN ATHLETICS
MILLIGAN – The Milligan University men’s basketball team wrapped its five-game homestand with a 79-64 victory over Kentucky Christian in the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.
Milligan rises to 4-14 overall and 3-13 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The Buffs pull even with KCU in the conference win column as the Knights fall to 3-14, 3-10 AAC.
Wednesday marked the first meeting this season between the Buffs and Kentucky Christan. The two teams rendezvous next Thursday at KCU.
Through the first nine minutes of action the Buffs and Knights were tied at 18. Milligan scored the next seven points with Sami Sanad in on all three baskets. Sanad knocked down a jump, snatched a steal and setup Trevor Hensley for a lay-in and assisted on a Josh Thomas three that put the Buffs up 25-17 with 8:40 to play in the first half.
A six-point string extended Milligan’s lead to 11 (33-22) with 5:44 left in the first. Pirpi Korent made a pair of layups off feeds from Levaontae Knox and Thomas started the fastbreak with a steal and finished it with a layup.
The Buffs’ lead was as large as 17 points in the first half as the Buffs attacked the rim relentlessly. Milligan converted three layups and a pair of foul shots to extend its advantage to 41-24 with two minutes to play in the half. Milligan scored the final two field goals of the half to carry a 45-29 lead into the break.
In the second half, KCU worked back within 12 points four times but never were able to trim the deficit to single digits. The Buffs lead grew to as many as 18 five times in the second half. Milligan clamped down on the Knights offense holding them to just three points over the final three and a half minutes.
Hensley has now scored 20 plus points in the last three games for the Buffs in addition to leading them in scoring tonight with 22. Thomas and Korent added 13 points apiece with Sanad chipping in 11. As a team, Milligan shot 45 percent on 31-of-69 shooting from the floor.
Knox played a key role in the Buffs plus-seven rebounding advantage (47-40) grabbing a team-high 11 boards with three of them coming on the offensive glass. Milligan scored 15 second-chance points compared to only four for KCU.
Milligan heads to Bryan on Saturday afternoon for a conference matchup with the Lions at 4:00 p.m.