The Cordero Seymour flying circus came to Steve Lacy Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon and helped Milligan College to a come from behind win over Point University on senior night. Seymour, a senior forward, led a second half charge that saw the Buffaloes erase a 43-32 Skyhawks lead enroute to an 84-79 victory to end the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular season.
The Buffs (10-16 overall) finished a disappointing 6-10 in conference but were 5-3 at Lacy Fieldhouse and the seniors made sure it was a happy ending to a down season. Seymour finished with 24 points, while fellow senior Marshall Hardy added 23 points and a game high nine rebounds.
Hardy scored 10 of his points in the first half to keep the Buffs within shouting distance and closed the game with two free throws that gave the Buffs the final margin of victory.
“We started clicking there in the second half,” Hardy said. “All 10 or however many dunks Cordero had was because of great passing from all our teammates. That’s kind of what we need going into the tournament and I was really encouraged to see that. We had made a good run early in the season and things were going our way, but then we had a couple of bad games that set us back. I hope we can get one more turnaround and make a move in the tournament.”
With Point shooting well, having hit six three-point shots in the first half, Milligan opened the second half with a resolve to play better defense and that resolve turned into an avalanche of points for the Buffs. Guard Shasta Scott torched Milligan in the first half with 15 of his 17 points coming in the first half and all on three-point shots.
“That has been our problem all season,” said Seymour. “We have played poor defense and teams run dribble drive on us all the time and we needed to put a stop to it. We can score a lot of points, but if you don’t get stops it makes it hard to win. I’m glad we won tonight for the fans. Nowhere else in the conference do fans show up like these do, and you can’t keep disappointing them. So it was good to win, especially on senior night.”
Milligan’s head coach Bill Robinson put senior guard Bryant Edwards on Scott and Edwards did a great job of keeping the ball from Scott in the second half which proved a little thing, but the aggregate of little things add up to wins.
Seymour scored eight straight points including two monstrous dunks as the Buffs went on a 14-1 run to take the lead at 48-46 with over 13-minutes left in regulation. After two buckets by Point forward Freddie Harrell, Seymour went back to work with three more buckets and another rim rocking dunk as Milligan opened a 62-50 lead at the 7:43 mark.
A trey by Edwards who finished with six points gave the Buffs an 81-68 advantage and the Buffs had to hold off a late Skyhawks charge down the stretch. A pair of baskets by Tory Wooley and a three-pointer by Chris Cooper cut the Buffs lead to 82-79 with 15.3 ticks left, but the Buffs dug deep and forced a turnover and Hardy was fouled on the play.
“We have been wanting Marshall to be more selfish,” said Robinson. “He’s probably the most unselfish player we have. Always making the extra pass to set someone else up, but we need him to want the ball and he may finally be doing that. It was a special night, you worry about if it’s going to turn out as a positive or negative thing, but tonight it turned out positive.
“Especially with Cordero, this was the best he has played all year. We have had opportunities to beat everyone in the conference this season, but we haven’t gotten the breaks. Sometimes you have to create your own breaks.”
For Point University, Cooper had a team high 21 points and Wooley finished with 15.
Sophomore guard Kayla Kelly scored a game high 18 points in leading the Lady Buffs to a huge win in a game that saw five freshmen on the floor for Milligan in the closing minutes. Senior forward Ashlee Price scored 10 and senior post Alisha Mainer added nine as the Lady Buffs rolled to their second straight conference win to raise their mark to 9-9 (17-13 overall).
“We are obviously looking to next week,” said Lady Buffs head coach Rich Aubrey. “That’s where our focus is now, but this was a great way to finish the regular season. From here it starts all over, we’re 0-0, and some years that has worked to our disadvantage, but this year we intend to make it work to our advantage.”
Milligan cruised to a 45-19 lead at the break and after a trey from Mainer and a bucket from Jaimee Hill the Buffs led 56-25.Sophomore guard Tracy Hardiman came off the bench and hit a trey for Milligan and by the nine-minute mark the Buffs had built a commanding 67-28 advantage and the freshmen flooded onto the court in waves.
“Kayla has been playing very well of late and got off to a great start today,” Aubrey said. “That in turn helped us get off to a good start as a team. Both my seniors Alisha and Ashlee are leaders by example. They have both been good at that and both have developed into really solid and versatile players so obviously after our run in the tournament ends it will be sad to see them go.”