MILLEDGEVILLE – AFC put the pedal to the metal in the second quarter on Thursday and didn't look back, as they completed revenge against Milledgeville.
They did it in blowout fashion, winning 77-55.
While a win is a win, the Raiders (8-13, 3-5NUIC East) wished it could have happened while the Missiles (15-4, 5-3 NUIC East) were full strength. Milledgeville was without five players, who were suspended from the team.
Milledgeville coach Brian Rahn said the players were suspended for undisclosed reasons. He did not know how long the players would be gone.
"I thought it was a secret plan to try to catch us relaxed, and they were going to show up at tip-off," AFC coach Russ Zick said. "We're trying to get better, no matter what team we play against. We are going to try and do the same thing. We never try to change our game to play to theirs. We play our game, and do what we can do."
"It wasn't quite on the terms we would have liked," senior Troy Mairs said, "with all their players gone. But we came out and did what we needed to do."
Mairs and sophomore David Zinke keyed an early run by the Raiders. While Mairs roamed the baseline and took the defense's attention, Zinke became an outside threat. That still didn't stop the 6-foot, 7-inch Mairs from getting his share, as he had a mixture of 15-foot jumpers and layups to accumulate 14 first-half points.
"David really came out of his funk tonight," Mairs said. "He hasn't been hitting his shots too well, but he came out tonight was able hit his shots. That makes them guard him outside, which frees us inside. I was able to find the corners and was hitting the baseline jumpers all game. We had a height advantage, too, so we were able to lob it inside."
Zinke's shot of the night came as the first half was winding down. The sophomore guard received the ball at the top of the key with about 5 seconds left. He fired up a 3-pointer that landed on the front of the rim, and rattled around before dropping as the buzzer sounded. AFC went into halftime up 38-23. Zinke finished with 18 points.
Milledgeville kept fighting, as it tried to claw its way back. Senior Zach Herin and junior Lucas Ebersole shouldered a bulk of the scoring for the Missiles. Herin finished the night with 13 points and had eight rebounds.
"We're a team that likes to pressure, and try to cause havoc and turnovers and things like that," Milledgeville coach Brian Rahn said. "When you're playing with six guys, that goes off the table, because you're risking foul trouble and wearing your guys out.
"Some players played out of position, and I was really proud of the boys with how well they played. They did everything they could do, especially in a situation like this with no practice, but a game the night before."
Ebersole led a brief fourth quarter comeback for the Missiles. The forward hit three 3-pointers, and finished with 22 points. He was a rebound short of a double-double.
Star of the game: Troy Mairs, AFC, 16 points, 9 rebounds.
Key performers: Lucas Ebersole, Milledgeville, 22 points, 9 rebounds. David Zinke, AFC, 18 points