Buffs lose tightly contested game versus Bluefield

Published 1:09 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

CONTRIBUTED BY MILLIGAN ATHLETICS
Milligan — The Milligan University men’s basketball team was defeated by Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) opponent Bluefield by a final score of 77-72 in Saturday evening’s matchup at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
The Buffs brought the game to within one-possession twice down the stretch but were unable to take the lead thanks to great free-throw shooting from the Rams.
Milligan falls to 4-16 (3-14 AAC) with the loss while Bluefield climbs to 13-8 (12-6 AAC) with the win.
For the first six minutes of the game, both teams traded baskets tying each other ten-ten at the 14-minute mark. Over the next seven minutes, Bluefield went on a 15-5 run to give themselves a double-digit lead 25-15. For the remainder of the half, the Buffs clawed their way back into a single-digit deficit cutting the Rams lead to six at the break.
Sami Sanad led Milligan in scoring through the first 20 minutes with nine points on three-of-six from the field and three-of-four from the free-throw line.
Josh Thomas grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in the first half in addition to two steals. Milligan held a plus-three advantage on the boards in the first half 17-14.
Milligan cut the Rams lead down to one possession twice in the second half but could not manage to get over the hump.
With just under nine minutes to play in regulation, Finn McClure converted on two free throw attempts to make it a one-point game (50-49). At the six-minute mark, Bluefield climbed out to their largest lead of the second half (63-53).
Once again, the Buffs fought their way back to a one possession ballgame following a triple from Trevor Hensley coming off a dish from Levontae Knox with two minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately for Milligan, the Rams closed out the game going nine-of-ten from the charity stripe to secure a five-point win 77-72.
Sanad scored a team-high 22 points on six-of-12 from the field, went ten-of-14 from the free throw line, and grabbed five rebounds. Hensley added 12 points on five-of-13 shooting while knocking down two shots from behind the arc.
Thomas finished one-point shy of a double-double coming away with nine points and a team-high ten rebounds.
Despite out-rebounding the Rams 35-31, Milligan lost the turnover battle by a margin of minus-eight. The Buffs outscored Bluefield 36-26 in paint points but were outscored 31-17 in points off the bench.
Milligan shot 50 percent on 25 made field goals for the game compared to 44 percent on 24 made baskets by the Rams.

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