Buffs split with Bears, Lady Buffs improve to 13-4
Published 9:27 pm Monday, January 15, 2024
By Ron Marvel
MILLIGAN – Two basketball games were played in the pomp and circumstance of the dedication of the new Smith-Harris court at Steve Lacey Fieldhouse on Saturday. It was a day that saw the Lady Buffs deal with a pesky Lady Bears team; meanwhile, the Men’s squad fought valiantly but ultimately lost the battle of the board and saw their record drop to 7-8 overall.
Women’s Milligan 84 Pikeville 78 – The Lady Buffs overcame a slow start and walked away with a hard-fought win. The matchup featured two of AAC’s best teams but when the final buzzer sounded the Lady Buffs scored a season sweep over the Lady Bears. U. Pike had several leads in the first period, building a 7-0 lead coming out of the gate but each time the Lady Bears threatened to build a double-digit lead the Lady Buffs would respond with a run of their own to keep things close at the break trailing by a bucket at the half 35-33.
The Lady Bears would have a 5-point lead at the 3:13 mark of the 3rd period at 49-44 before Milligan would go on a 12-0 run to grab a lead at 56-49. Halie Padgett would spark the run with a couple of buckets and Jaycie Jenkins would hit a big 3-pointer. Milligan would nurse a 6-point lead going into the 4th period. But each time the Lady Buffs seemed to get a little distance, back would come the Lady Bears; they would cut the Lady Buffs lead to just 3 points at the 6:33 mark but, Lauren Longmire would respond with a 3 of her own and the Lady Buffs would push the lead back to 12 at 76-64 with a little over 2 minutes. But once again Pikeville would respond by cutting the lead back to one possession at 78-75. Going down the stretch, the Lady Buffs would hit their free throws to ice the games finally. It was a game in which Milligan forced 16 turnovers, shot 54% and got 40 points out of the paint.
Padgett would lead the Lady Buffs with 23 while Jenkins would add 21, Semaj Clark would score 13 and have seven assists in the game. Post-game Lady Buffs Head Coach Kylie Greer talked about her team’s grit, “Our first half was terrible, but I saw a shift and they started carrying themselves in the right way; once I saw that I knew we would be ok, we have given up some 4th-period leads but for us to gain a lead and keep a lead is valuable for us. We showed multiple defenses today, but they were prepared. They are a really good team but honestly, I didn’t want to screw up today while we honoring Del Harris and Sonny Smith” Greer shared.
Men’s Pikeville 97 Milligan 84– The Milligan Men’s Basketball team would rally several times but couldn’t get out of the first half hole they dug. The AAC’s first-place Bears went on a 9-0 run to start the game and then led 27-17 with 4 minutes left in the half before Milligan began to crawl back. The Buffs would trail by just 4 points and would have gotten even closer if not for several missed free throws. Jay Hickman started the first-half rally with a 3-pointer, but just as Milligan looked to close the half out on a strong note, Pikeville scored the last 10 points of the half to go up at the break 39-25.
The Bears would push their lead to 19 twice in the second half before Sam Gold and Jay Hickman brought it back down to 10 points; unfortunately, they never could cut the lead to single digits. Milligan would be out-rebounded on the day 45-29, as the Bears would often get multiple looks off missed shots. Hickman would lead the way with 27 points in the loss, he would go 5-7 on the day from 3-point land. Lincoln Thomae would chip in 17 and Sam Gold and Follie Bogan each had 14.
Both teams will head to Union on Saturday with a 2 pm tipoff.