KINGSPORT, TN -
Less than 18 hours after having two players named to the Appalachian Athletic Conference All-Defense team, Milligan College's defense lived up to its expectations, holding Bryan to 29 second-half points on the way to a 76-63 victory in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament Thursday morning.
Milligan (18-9) will face No. 24 and top seed Union College in the semis Friday at 2 p.m. The Buffaloes lost to the Bulldogs by eight both times they met this season: 80-72 at home on Nov. 12 and 102-94 on the road Jan. 30.
In Thursday morning's victory over Bryan, Milligan trailed 34-31 at the half but poured in 45 second-half points on 52.0% shooting (13-25) while limiting the Lions to 30.0% (9-30) from the field after the halftime break.
Early in the second half, Torian Sitton (Hendersonville, N.C.) and Mickey Woods (Port Arthur, Texas) scored four apiece during an 8-0 run that put Milligan into the lead for good, but it took the team the majority of the second half to put the game away. Bryan hung close until the eight-minute mark when Morgan McLeod (Hickory, N.C.) converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put Milligan on top 60-49, the first double-digit lead for either side. From there, it was free throws and clock management that sealed Milligan’s victory.
Four minutes after his and-one, McLeod knocked down a three-pointer that gave Milligan its largest lead of the game (69-54).
Four Buffaloes made it to double figures in scoring, led by Sitton’s 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Woods finished with 16 points – 12 in the second half – and five rebounds.
Cartree Pettis (Oveido, Fla.), the AAC’s defensive player of the year, scored 13 points with eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. The sophomore scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
McLeod had 12 points (nine in the second half), nine rebounds and five blocked shots.
Milligan’s defense held Brandon Cole, the AAC’s second-leading scorer (26.1 PPG), to 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Cole added 12 rebounds and was joined by Derrick Walker’s 11 points, 13 rebounds as the only players to record double-doubles.