Eagle Men Begin New Season With Three On The Road

Eagle Men Begin New Season With Three On The Road

PDF LINK TO WEEK 1 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team will begin the 2016-17 season by playing two games at the Indianapolis Tournament – Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. against the host Greyhounds, and Nov. 13 at 2:15 p.m. against Southern Indiana – then another road non-conference game at Shawnee State on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

The Eagles are coming off a 2015-16 campaign in which they finished 25-6, qualified for the NCAA Division II postseason for the first time in a quarter-century, won a share of its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title and its first outright GLIAC South Division championship.

Ashland beginning the new season on the road comes on the heels of setting a new single-season program record for road/neutral-site wins with 11 in 2015-16.

The Eagles have won 12 consecutive season-opening games, and haven't lost a lid-lifter on the road since 1995.

 

AU Starts 2016-17 With Three Road Games In Four Days

Ashland begins 2016-17 against three teams, two of which made up three of the Eagles' contests in 2015-16. AU split two games against Indianapolis and won a home game against Shawnee State.

"Our guys are ready for a real game, uniforms and playing in front of a crowd," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "They're sick of the practice uniforms, they're sick of hearing a coach's whistle. They want to get out and see how good they are, and see what type of year we're going to start off having."

Despite the season-ending injury to senior forward Wendell Davis (17.4 ppg., 7.7 rpg., 3.3 apg., 49.5 FG%, 76.1 FT%), the Eagles return 71.7 percent of points and 75 percent of minutes from the 2015-16 squad. Ashland still boasts perhaps the deepest team of Ellenwood's tenure.

AU's three returning starters are senior guard Boo Osborne (12.0 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 1.8 apg., 77.4 FT%), a 2016 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division preseason selection, senior guard Adrian Cook (12.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 2.7 apg., 50.0 FG%) and junior forward Marsalis Hamilton (12.2 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 2.1 apg., 55.4 FG%, 44.0 3FG%, 73.0 FT%).

The two new members of the starting lineup are sophomore guard Ben Haraway, the 2014-15 GLIAC Freshman of the Year while playing for Malone, and junior center Teddy Metzen (2.9 ppg., 1.3 rpg., 54.3 FG%).

A backcourt of Osborne, Cook and Haraway has the opportunity to be dynamic.

"We can be. I think it's tough for teams to match up against them," said Ellenwood. "We have some great speed and athleticism, plus Boo's versatility, it really is a tough situation for other teams to guard.

"We're excited to see how good they are versus some quality opponents."

Hamilton will take over the Davis role at the four-spot in 2016-17.

"Marsalis is learning the responsibility that Wendell had, and there was a lot of responsibility that Wendell had, and he's adjusted well," Ellenwood said. "He's going to have an outstanding year for us. He's a special player, he's a competitor, he's a winner. I think he's up to the challenge of that position."

Last season's top two bench players – sophomore guard Nick Bapst (5.1 ppg., 2.0 rpg.) and senior forward Torin Wetzel (4.7 ppg., 2.9 rpg.) – return to lead a deep group of reserves that includes sophomore forward Phil Frentsos (3.1 ppg., 1.4 rpg.), freshman center Drew Noble and sophomore guard Jay Slone.

"We have a blessing of depth right now," Ellenwood said, "and it's something that our guys, if they buy into the roles we want them to have, it can be a great weapon for us."

 

AU Vs. Indianapolis, Southern Indiana and Shawnee State

The Eagles are 19-15 all-time against Indianapolis, 13-19 all-time against Southern Indiana and 2-0 all-time against Shawnee State.

In 2015-16, Ashland split with the Greyhounds, winning the regular-season matchup 75-67 at home and losing 77-60 in an NCAA Division II Midwest Regional quarterfinal at Wisconsin-Parkside.

The Eagles' last game against Southern Indiana was an 86-74 loss on Feb. 25, 1995 - Ashland's last season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

"It should be fun for us this weekend," Ellenwood said. "We've got two great opponents on the road. Traditionally, both programs are perennial Top 25 programs in the country, so it will be a great challenge for us."

Last season at home, Ashland topped Shawnee State, 78-59.

 

Eagles Picked Second In GLIAC South

Ashland has been chosen to finish second in the GLIAC's South Division in the 2016-17 preseason poll released on Oct. 26.

The Eagles received one of seven first-place votes in the South, and 29 overall points. Findlay is picked to win the South, having received five first-place votes and 34 overall points.

In the North Division, Saginaw Valley State is the favorite, having garnered seven of eight first-place votes and 49 overall points. Ferris State (40) is second, and Lake Superior State (one first-place vote, 33) is third.

"One year, we were picked fifth and we ended up winning the South," Ellenwood said. "Last year, we finished where we were picked. You never know in our conference. Any team can beat any team on any given night.

"We're just worried about the first game. You can't look down the schedule."

 

At Long Last, The Debut Of Ben Haraway

Following a redshirt 2015-16 season due to having to sit out by GLIAC rules after transferring from Malone, Haraway will officially make his Eagles debut against the Greyhounds.

"I'm loving it. I think he's looking forward to it, too," Ellenwood said. "Ben is a tremendous talent. He's going to be an outstanding player here at Ashland. He's a pleasure to coach every single day. He's a tremendous competitor and a tremendous teammate.

"He's the type of guy you want to lead your team with the ball in his hands. I am anxious to see how good he can be, and he's as anxious as I am."

In 2014-15 with the Pioneers, Haraway started all 28 games, averaging 13.5 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 77.8 percent from the free-throw line.

 

Eagles Enjoy Tipping Off A New Season

Ashland has a knack of getting seasons off on the right track, having won 12 consecutive season-opening games:

 

SEASON

OPPONENT

SCORE

2015-16

MISSOURI S&T

W, 82-73

2014-15

vs. Alderson Broaddus

W, 77-44

2013-14

OBERLIN

W, 106-66

2012-13

OBERLIN

W, 72-47

2011-12

at Lock Haven

W, 80-70

2010-11

LOURDES

W, 80-70

2009-10

OHIO DOMINICAN

W, 66-61

2008-09

OHIO DOMINICAN

W, 91-75

2007-08

TIFFIN

W, 111-59

2006-07

OHIO DOMINICAN

W, 99-83

2005-06

CINCINNATI-CLERMONT

W, 82-75

2004-05

at Lincoln Memorial

W, 89-52

 

In addition to their overall season-opening success, the Eagles have won four straight games to open a season on the road.

 

Ashland Likes "The Kates," But…

The Eagles were a school-record 11-3 away from Kates Gymnasium in 2015-16, including winning their first five road/neutral-site contests.

A look at Ellenwood's first seven seasons shows how far Ashland has come in terms of success when getting on the bus:

 

SEASON

ROAD/NEUTRAL RECORD

2009-10

3-10

2010-11

4-9

2011-12

3-9

2012-13

3-9

2013-14

2-10

2014-15

7-7

2015-16

11-3

 

Eagles Cut It Close In 2015-16

Of Ashland's 25 wins last season, 16 were by single digits.

The Eagles were even better when the game was even tighter, going 5-2 in games decided by five points or less. How all five of those close wins came about follow:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

SCORE

HOW

12/3/15

at Grand Valley State

W, 76-72 (OT)

3 Davis FTs in final OT minute

1/16/16

at Malone

W, 69-67

Davis jumper w/ 0.3 to play

2/6/16

MALONE

W, 65-63

Wetzel 3 for 4-point lead late

2/11/16

FINDLAY

W, 67-64

2 Davis FTs w/ 6 secs. left

2/20/16

at Tiffin

W, 79-76

5 FTs in the final minute

 

Ashland Men Top Wooster In Overtime Exhibition Game

In an exhibition tune-up at Monroeville High School in Monroeville, Ohio, Ashland defeated The College of Wooster in overtime, 85-81, on Nov. 4.

All five starters in the Eagles' new-look starting lineup contributed to the victory. Osborne led the offense with 20 points while adding four rebounds and three steals. Cook (13), Hamilton (12) and Metzen (10) all scored in double figures, with Hamilton grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.

Haraway posted six points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Off the bench, Bapst scored 17 points in the victory.

Leading 15-10 in the first half, Ashland went on a 12-0 run to increase its lead to 17 points. The Eagles took a 40-32 lead into halftime, and had a 15-point lead at 56-41 inside of 13 minutes to play in the second half.

The Fighting Scots chipped away at the deficit, and forced overtime on a 3-point field goal in the final seconds of regulation.

Ashland led 79-77 going into the final minute of overtime, then got a Hamilton layup and two Osborne free throws to pull away.

Wooster is No. 7 in the D3hoops.com men's basketball preseason national poll.

 
 

AU

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