ASHEVILLE, N.C. (December 21, 2018) – In a rare weekday basketball matinee, the UNCA Bulldogs hosted their area neighbors to the north, the Milligan Buffaloes, on Friday at Kimmel Arena.
Milligan is the much smaller of the programs but is consistently strong in the NAIA ranks, while the Bulldogs field the youngest lineup in NCAA DI basketball. The result of that combo was entertaining basketball as the Bulldogs (2-10, 0-0) captured their second win of the season with an 86-76 win over the Buffaloes. Aaron Levarity led Milligan (7-5) with 20 points, while Tajion Jones (pictured) led all scorers with 30 points.
After the Bulldogs moved out to a 23-13 lead in the first half, the Buffs went on a 15-0 run to take a 28-23 advantage following a layup from Levarity. At halftime, Milligan led, 38-37.
The two teams drew even at 51-51 in the second half, and from there the Bulldogs took and held the lead to eventually finish with the 10-point victory.
UNCA head coach Mike Morrell played for Milligan in the early 2000s, graduating in 2005. The willingness of both teams to play across levels provides an extra opportunity for the region’s basketball fans to see two of its better-known programs compete.
“It was tremendously special for me, not so much in the moment, but now that I get to look back on it,” said Morrell of playing his alma mater. “We’ll continue to play those guys; I’ll never be able to give back to that school what it gave to me.”
The Bulldogs are off until December 29, when they host Fayetteville State (1-8) at 2:00 p.m. at Kimmel Arena. Box Score