Milligan men’s basketball upset bid falls short in AAC tournament

Kingsport, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2013) — The Milligan College men’s basketball team’s upset bid of No. 1 Tennessee Wesleyan fell short on Friday night as the Buffaloes fell 85-83 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament semifinals in the MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport, Tenn.

The Buffaloes answered three early Bulldog points with a 7-0 run sparked by five points from Torian Sitton (Hendersonville, N.C.). After Tennessee Wesleyan edged ahead by a point, Tyler DeVault (Kingsport, Tenn.) sparked another 6-0 Milligan run to put the Buffaloes up 13-8. The next five minutes saw the Bulldogs go on 16-4 run to take a 24-17 lead at the midpoint of the half.

Kurt Brooks (Newport, Tenn.) stopped the Tennessee Wesleyan run with a 3-pointer, but the Bulldogs extended their lead back to nine points with seven minutes left in the half. The Buffaloes battled back with points from Cartree Pettis (Oviedo, Fla.) and DeVault to cut the gap, and Corey Hendren (Lexington, S.C.) drained a 3-pointer to pull Milligan within three points. The Buffaloes were unable to close up as they went to the half down 39-35.

Sitton and Pettis led the way at the half with 12 and 10 points, respectively. As a team, Milligan ended the period 10-of-26 (39%) from the field and 3-of-10 (30%) from behind the arc. Tennessee Wesleyan finished the half 13-of-29 (45%) from the floor and 2-of-7 (29%) from behind the arc.

The Buffaloes opened the second half on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 41-41. Milligan regained the lead with four straight points from DeVault, but the Bulldogs edged ahead 50-49 with 15 minutes remaining. After Tennessee Wesleyan went up by four points, the Buffaloes saw five different players score in a 13-3 run to take a 67-62 lead with just over eight minutes to play.

The next five minutes saw the Bulldogs battle to a 78-73 lead, but a DeVault jumper brought Milligan within three points. In the final five minutes, the Buffaloes kept fighting with points from DeVault and Hendren. However, they could not get back in front to complete the upset.

Pettis led the way with a career high 24 points and nine assists, while DeVault finished 16 points. Sitton and Hendren recorded 14 and 11 points, respectively.

As a team, the Buffaloes ended the game 28-of-54 (52%) from the field and 6-of-16 (38%) from the 3-point line. Tennessee Wesleyan was 26-of-51 (51%) from the floor and 8-of-15 (53%) from behind the arc.

The Buffaloes finish the 2012-13 season with an 18-13 overall record. Milligan will lose two seniors in Rob Larsen (Philadelphia, Pa.) and DeVault.