Eagle Men Come Home For Two Pre-Thanksgiving Games

Eagle Men Come Home For Two Pre-Thanksgiving Games

PDF LINK TO WEEK 2 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team will take a 2-1 record into its first two home games of the 2016-17 season, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. against Wilberforce and Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. vs. California (Pa.).

The Eagles are coming off a stretch of three road/neutral-site games in four days. Ashland split two games at the Indianapolis Tournament (a 70-64 win over Indy and a 74-62 loss to Southern Indiana), and won 73-58 at Shawnee State.

Wilberforce is 4-2 prior to a game on Nov. 17 at home against Central State (Ohio), while California is 2-1 before two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference games with Kutztown and Mansfield.

Ashland returns to Kates Gymnasium for the first time this season. The Eagles are 27-6 in their last 33 home games, and will play nine of their next 13 games at "The Kates."

The games against Wilberforce and California will be Ashland's last prior to the Thanksgiving break and the start of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Ashland's 2-1 start to 2016-17 has moved its record to 20-11 in its last 31 road/neutral-site contests.

"I thought for three road games against the opponents that we played, I'm happy with where we're at," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "You look at the one loss that we had, and you say we could have won that. Southern Indiana played really well. Going on the road and playing Indianapolis at Indianapolis…to get a win at Indianapolis is a big deal. That was a huge accomplishment by our team.

"And then turn around and play Tuesday after we played Saturday and Sunday, and drive three hours to Portsmouth and play a team that was amped up for us, it was good for us to go down there and win the way we did. And we continue to improve every day, so I think our guys are starting to understand how to play. Learning to play without our best player from last year (injured senior forward Wendell Davis) and our best defensive player from last year (graduated center Michael Hundley) is what we're still trying to do."

Ashland is 20-1 all-time against Wilberforce, and 2-0 all-time against California.

"Wilberforce is a scary team," Ellenwood said. "Just their size and their athleticism is scary. We've got to play some disciplined basketball, and just play our basketball at home, and hopefully that will lead to a victory.

"It will be nice to get to Thanksgiving break and have two home games under our belt, three road games under our belt, and we'll know a lot more about ourselves by the time we're eating turkey."

 

The Eagles Like "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. Ashland has won 13 such games since the start of 2015-16 - or one more than the program won in the previous three seasons combined.

"Winning on the road is very, very difficult," Ellenwood said, "just because everything is different. It took years to for us figure that out. It's a mental toughness that your team has to have in order to win on the road. Especially once you get in the GLIAC, it's really, really difficult to win on the road.

"You don't care what the stats are. All you care about is if you are one point better than the team you are playing on the road. We always tell our guys, just find a way to win, grit it out. Don't settle, do a little bit more on the road. It's usually a tougher shooting environment on the road. Our guys are just mentally tough, and that's the first thing you need to win on the road."

 

Cook Picks Up Where He Left Off

In Davis' stead, senior guard Adrian Cook has picked up the leading scorer mantle.

Cook was the Eagles' second-leading scorer last season at 12.5 ppg., and he is averaging 13.7 ppg. so far this season, while shooting 69.6 from the field and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line.

A look at Cook's career splits shows his recent rise in production:

 

TIME FRAME

PPG.

First 65 games

6.4

Last 18 games

15.9

 

"He did a great job against Shawnee State, and he really took a leadership role," said Ellenwood. "He'll tell you he's always looking to play better. He's never satisfied."

 

Metzen Makes Solid Starting Debut

Junior center Teddy Metzen made his first three collegiate starts to begin 2016-17, and is averaging 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 61.9 percent from the field. His 15 points in the opener at the Greyhounds were a team-high.

"Teddy's really taken a step for us, and he'll continue to get better as the year goes on," Ellenwood said. "Him and (freshman center) Drew Noble push each other every single day, and (sophomore forward) John Brady does a good job with those guys in practice."

 

Defense Stays Strong In Early Games

In 2015-16, Ashland finished tied for eighth in NCAA Division II in field-goal percentage defense (40.0), tied for seventh in scoring defense (65.4 ppg.) and sixth in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (29.7).

Through three games in 2016-17, the Eagles are allowing 41.6 percent on field goals, 65.3 points per game and 25.9 percent from 3-point range.

"You've got to get some easy points off your defense," said Ellenwood. "You can't win without playing defense and rebounding. That's the thing that we need to continually get better at, is suffocate teams with our defense and not giving them easy buckets."

 

Hamilton Sets New Boards High In Opener

Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds in the opener at Indianapolis.

That mark is one of the best for an Eagle since the start of the 2011-12 season:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

NAME

REB.

12/29/12

OHIO CHRISTIAN

Evan Yates

20

11/18/11

CENTRAL STATE

Evan Yates

20

12/16/13

SAGINAW VALLEY ST.

Will Evans

18

11/23/11

POINT PARK

Evan Yates

18

11/12/16

at Indianapolis

Marsalis Hamilton

16

11/21/14

CENTRAL STATE

Wendell Davis

16

11/20/12

at Urbana

Evan Yates

16

 

Getting The Show Going At Home

Ashland has won 13 straight season-opening games overall, and it enjoys the first home game of a new season, as well, having won 12 consecutive Kates Gymnasium openers and 18 of the last 20:

 

SEASON

OPPONENT

SCORE

2015-16

MISSOURI S&T

W, 82-73

2014-15

OHIO CHRISTIAN

W, 86-72

2013-14

OBERLIN

W, 106-66

2012-13

OBERLIN

W, 72-47

2011-12

POINT PARK

W, 108-95

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

SLIPPERY ROCK

W, 71-61

2003-04

LINCOLN MEMORIAL

L, 74-75

2002-03

MALONE

W, 98-69

2001-02

TIFFIN

W, 94-82

2000-01

WILBERFORCE

W, 101-66

1999-00

LAKE SUPERIOR STATE

W, 91-77

1998-99

WEST LIBERTY STATE

W, 107-70

1997-98

LAKE SUPERIOR STATE

L, 72-77

1996-97

WEST VIRGINIA TECH

W, 117-112, OT

 
 

Ellenwood Cements Place In AU History

Now in his eighth season, Ellenwood resides among the most successful head coaches in Ashland men's basketball history:

 

NAME

WINS

Roger Lyons

246

Bill Musselman

129

John Ellenwood

111

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

195

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

George Donges

7 1/2

John Ellenwood

7+

 

Ellenwood will become just the second Ashland head coach to 200 games on Dec. 8 at home against Saginaw Valley State.

 
 

AU

MBKB/DS