ATHENS, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2015) – Mickey Woods was held to two made field goals but still managed to lead the Milligan College men’s basketball team with 22 points as free throws helped the Buffaloes close out a 71-57 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan College Saturday evening in Appalachian Athletic Conference play.
With the win, Milligan (15-5, 10-2 AAC) moved to within half a game of league-leading Union College (17-4, 10-1 AAC), which won its eighth straight game today in a nonconference contest. Milligan and Union will battle for first place their next time out, Wednesday, Jan. 28 at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
Woods made 18-of-20 attempts from the free throw line on Saturday, including eight of his last eight in the final three minutes. Julian Bailey and Mike Woods Jr. added two makes apiece during that same span, helping the Buffs go 12 for their last 12 from the charity stripe and ward off a late charge by Tennessee Wesleyan (9-10, 5-7 AAC).
TWC’s late charge included a 12-4 run that cut a 13-point game to five with just over four minutes left. Milligan’s answer came in the way of a 15-6 run, all from free throws, to end the game.
Woods’ 22 points led all scorers, and the senior also added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Morgan McLeod scored 19, and Bailey narrowly missed a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Bailey’s 17-point effort was one point short of his career high which he set the last time the Buffs faced the Bulldogs, a 75-71 win at home prior to Thanksgiving. Bailey made two free throws and a couple of baskets in the closing minutes of the first half which helped the Buffaloes go on a 6-0 run over their last three possessions. That opened up a 32-26 lead, the largest of the game for either team leading up to that point.
In the second half, a couple of baskets by TWC’s Leland Robinson made it a three-point game, but Woods Jr. started a 16-6 Milligan run with a 3-pointer at the 15:29 mark.
Ten Bulldogs entered the scoring column, but none of them were able to reach double figures as Robinson’s nine points was Tennessee Wesleyan’s team high.
The Buffaloes finished the game 25-of-30 (83.3%) from the free throw line. They were 20-of-24 (83.3%) in the second half.
Milligan will host AAC frontrunner Union College (17-4, 10-1 AAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. following a 5:30 p.m. women’s game. Milligan, which dealt the Bulldogs their only league loss of the year with a 70-69 decision on the road, can retake first place outright with a victory.