By Josh Brown
TIPP CITY — Milton-Union got the win it needed Friday night.
Saturday was Tippecanoe’s turn — and the Red Devils did something historic in the process.
Tippecanoe (5-8) snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday night at home against county rival Milton-Union, setting a new school record for least points allowed in a single game in the process by holding the Bulldogs to only seven total field goals in a 49-18 non-league victory.
“We needed this one,” Tippecanoe coach Joel Visser said. “We dropped a couple in a row. We’re playing teams tight, though. We’re there. We just need to do a better job of taking care of the basketball in the fourth quarter and getting better possessions. When you play defense and take care of the basketball, you’re going to win games.
“We’ve been playing hard all season. To set a school record with 18 points given up, it’s exciting. And Milton’s a rival, and we talked today — we’ve beaten Butler, beaten Troy and now we’ve beaten Milton, so our kids are excited about that. To beat our rivals, that’s exciting because records are out the window. We felt like we had an opportunity, but you’ve still got to show up.”
Milton-Union (2-7) had dropped two straight before Friday’s 54-53 victory at Waynesville — but against Tippecanoe’s defense, the Bulldogs found no such success.
“They’re a very good team, and their record is deceiving because they play a higher level of competition in the Greater Western Ohio Conference,” Milton-Union coach Mike Piatt said. “There’s a huge difference, and we saw that tonight.I give Tipp all the credit. They played more aggressive, got after us, were more physical, and I thought they outplayed us in every facet of the game.
“Obviously, tonight was very disappointing. But the question is, do we learn from it? Do we take this and get better?”
It was clear early on exactly how Saturday’s matchup would go.
Quenten Williams and Josh Wildermuth hit back-to-back 3s to open the game, but Milton-Union got back to within 8-4 on a steal and layup by Caleb Wintrow and a bucket by Daniel Albaugh. But the Devils went on an 11-0 run from there, forcing nine first-quarter turnovers to build a 15-4 advantage and leading 19-4 in the second quarter before a free throw by A.J. Lovin ended the run. But Tippecanoe did not allow a field goal in the second quarter, and scores inside by Noah Bledsoe and Cade Gingrich gave the Devils a 23-5 halftime lead.
“Our transition and inside games were better tonight,” Visser said. “We can shoot a lot better, but we did a much better job of getting it inside, finishing inside and getting to the free throw line.”
William Morris ended Milton-Union’s drought from the field early in the third quarter, but Tippecanoe kept the pressure on and spread the ball around, getting baskets from five different players to take a 35-13 lead into the fourth. And after the Bulldogs scored the first basket of the final quarter, the Devils went on another 11-0 run — including steals and layups by both Zach Bonifas and Wildermuth — to go up 46-15 and coast to the win.
Williams led Tippecanoe with 13 points, Bonifas had 10 points and four rebounds, Wildermuth had seven points, Bledsoe and Ben Sauls each scored six points with Bledsoe adding four rebounds, Gingrich had three points and Caiden Smith and Adam Grieshop each had two.
Morris led Milton-Union with four points and six rebounds, Ryan Moore added four points, Wintrow and Blake Ullery had three points each, Albaugh had two points and eight rebounds and Blake Smith and A.J. Lovin each scored one point.
“Tonight was very disappointing,” Piatt said. “We’ve got to continue to work to get better. When you have a young team like this, you want to try to get better each night, and we did not get better tonight. But you have to give credit to Tipp. They played very well.”
Milton-Union travels to Oakwood Tuesday, while Tippecanoe hosts Stebbins on Friday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.