Former Elizabethton standout Tyler Nichols scored a team-high 19 points and produced the game-winning block as the Milligan College men’s basketball team held on for an 85-84 win over Alice Lloyd College Monday night inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Buffaloes improved their record to 3-1 while Alice Lloyd fell to 0-2.
Milligan held an eight point advantage with 3:39 remaining in the game, but the Eagles would not go quietly into the night. Alice Lloyd tied the game with 33 seconds left after two made free throws from Blake Smith, but the Buffs would regain the lead for good on their ensuing possession.
Desean Green drove down the lane and drew a foul on the Eagles with eight seconds to go and split a pair of free throws. Smith hustled the ball down the floor following the miss and looked to have a clear game-winning layup, when out of nowhere, Nichols came flying in for the block to seal the victory for Milligan.
Aaron Levarity registered his fourth double-double of the season as he poured in 16 points and 17 rebounds, while Green followed with 16 points three assists and three steals. Jacob Cawood (13) and Tyler Faulkenberry (11) rounded out the rest of the Buffs in double figures.
Overall, Milligan shot 48.5 percent from the field and knocked down five threes on the night. Defensively, the Buffs blocked nine shots, forced 16 turnovers and held the Eagles to under 40 percent from the field (39.8).
Smith recorded a game-high 24 points in the loss for Alice Lloyd and was a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. Two other Eagles were in double figures as Chance Cornett and Austin Combs added 17 points apiece. Cornett also came away with 15 rebounds for a double-double.
Going into the half, Milligan held a 44-42 advantage, but would open the game up in the first couple minutes of the second. Nichols threw down a posterizing dunk over an Eagles defender just over a minute into the second half sparking a quick 9-2 run that saw Milligan open their lead to 11.
The Buffs would build as large of a lead as 12 before Alice Lloyd began to chip away at the deficit and ultimately make the game a tight finish.
Milligan will have a quick turnaround as they travel to Columbia, South Carolina, Wednesday, Nov. 7, for their Appalachian Athletic Conference opener against new member Columbia International. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Buffs will make one more stop before returning back home to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse as they face Middle Tennessee State Friday, Nov. 9, in an exhibition game. Milligan’s next home game is Tuesday, Nov. 13, against St. Andrews.
Photo Courtesy of Milligan Athletics and Robert Kell, Creative Story Visuals