South-Leading Ashland Men Play Three To End 2016

South-Leading Ashland Men Play Three To End 2016

PDF LINK TO WEEK 6 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team goes back on the road for two more Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests before finishing 2016 with a non-conference game at Kates Gymnasium.

The Eagles (6-3 overall, 2-2 GLIAC) start the week before the NCAA "dead period" in a four-way tie atop the GLIAC South Division, along with Walsh, Ohio Dominican and Findlay. They will take on Ferris State (6-3, 2-2) on Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. and Grand Valley State (7-4, 3-1) on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., before coming back home for a game on Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against Thiel (6-2).

Ashland is coming off home losses to two of the top teams in the GLIAC North Division - 75-68 to then-No. 1-ranked Saginaw Valley State and 61-56 to current North leader Wayne State.

The Eagles are 4-1 away from home this season, and 22-11 in road/neutral-site games since the start of the 2014-15 season.

Overall, Ashland is 50-19 (.725) in its last 69 games.

 

Eagles On The Air

- Both games this week will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340.

- Select home games will be aired live on WRDL-FM 88.9.

- All GLIAC home regular-season games will be aired on tape delay on SportsTime Ohio.

- Head coach John Ellenwood appears on "The Early Bird's Word" on WRDL every Friday at 7:30 a.m. during the season.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Ashland's back-to-back home losses to the Cardinals and the Warriors mark the program's first consecutive losses at Kates Gymnasium since Feb. 13 and 15, 2014.

"Both teams, they have a combined two losses between them," Ellenwood said. "Wayne State's in first place in our conference, Saginaw is right there. Fortunately for us, the rest of the South had a bad Saturday. We got fortunate there.

"But we have to play better basketball. It starts on the defensive end with the Wayne State game. Fifty percent (from the floor) was way too high, and we can't allow that. We did not play very good team basketball on Saturday. Thursday, I thought Saginaw Valley State did a great job. They are a very, very good basketball team, and they beat us. Wayne State did a very good job. They out-toughed us, and that should never happen."

Ashland's three losses are to teams with a cumulative 2016-17 record of 24-2 through Dec. 13.

"I look at every loss, especially against good teams...things we need to get better at. We need to correct the problems we have," said Ellenwood. "Our guys want to win, there's no doubt about that."

The Eagles are 8-19 all-time against Ferris State, and Saturday's game is a rematch of a 67-52 AU loss to the Bulldogs at home in a 2016 GLIAC Tournament semifinal. The 2015-16 regular-season meeting ended in a 57-51 Ashland victory in Big Rapids, Mich., as forward Wendell Davis scored 22 points and forward Marsalis Hamilton posted 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The all-time series between Ashland and GVSU is 17-15 in favor of the Lakers. Last season, the Eagles took two games from Grand Valley - 76-72 in overtime on the road and 67-58 at home in the first round of the GLIAC tourney. In the regular-season W, five Eagles scored in double figures, led by Davis and guard Adrian Cook with 16 each, and in the tournament win, Cook led four AU double-digit scorers with 20 points, while center Michael Hundley ended with one of the rarest lines of all-time - no points, no rebounds and a school-record 10 blocked shots in 21 minutes.

"Right now, I think we're a team that's desperate, and we're fortunate to be where we're at in the South," said Ellenwood. "We've got to go up and play two very, very good basketball teams in Ferris State and Grand Valley on the road, and you've got to take it one game at a time. If we look at the whole weekend, then we'll be overwhelmed, but we've got to look at the next possession.

"We have to go up and do a very tough task this weekend."

Ashland is 5-0 all-time against Thiel, with the last meeting being a 91-49 home win on Nov. 24, 2014. The series dates back to Feb. 11, 1922, when then-Ashland College won at home, 38-25.

"You always want a game out of Christmas that your guys can come back before they get back into conference and get some experience," said Ellenwood. "I'm glad we're playing a game before we get back into conference."

 

Metzen Is On The Move

In the first nine starts of his AU career, junior center Teddy Metzen is the team's third-leading scorer at 9.6 points per game, while shooting 63.6 percent from the field, which is good for fifth in the GLIAC.

Metzen has taken on a bigger scoring role of late, and his field-goal percentage has climbed to new heights, as well:

 

TIME FRAME

PPG.

FG%

First 2 seasons

2.9

55.8

First 5 games of 2016-17

8.0

57.1

Last 4 games of 2016-17

11.5

70.4

 

"Teddy is gradually getting better," said Ellenwood. "The other day, I thought we should have played through him more. There's other games where Teddy needs to get other people open through screening and passing out of the post.

"Our go-to guy is different. In the past, it was simple. Every game, it changes, and we have to understand that as a team, that we have to play through different guys at different times. It's going to change game-to-game."

Five Eagles have led/co-led the team in scoring in a game so far in 2016-17, and Metzen has done it three times.

 

Wetzel Earning More Floor Time

Senior forward Torin Wetzel's early-season production is earning him more minutes off the Eagle bench.

Wetzel is averaging 5.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 18 minutes per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range, third-best on the team. He has set career-highs in single-game rebounds (eight) and assists (five), and tied his career-best in steals (two), already this season.

"Torin does a good job in knowing his role," Ellenwood said. "He moves the basketball. The ball doesn't stop with Torin. He's a little more aggressive, and he's taking care of the basketball. His stock is rising, and I'm very proud of him."

Wetzel has played at least 20 minutes in four of nine games in 2016-17.

He also is the author of one of the most unique stat lines in Ashland men's basketball history. In 46 career games, Wetzel has attempted 161 3-pointers, 16 2-pointers and 20 free throws.

 

Ashland's Defense Isn't Resting

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).

Despite allowing a season-high 50.0 percent from the floor to the Warriors, the Eagles lead the GLIAC in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (28.3), and are third in scoring defense (67.3 ppg.) and field-goal percentage defense (42.1).

 

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

115

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

201

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 reach 200 games on Dec. 8 at home against Saginaw Valley State.

 

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 15 such games since the start of 2015-16 – or as many as the program won in the previous four seasons combined.

The Eagles are shooting for their third consecutive season of .500 or better play away from Kates Gymnasium.

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

 

SEASON

ROAD/NEUTRAL REC.

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

2016-17

4-1

 

2016-17 Competitiveness Chart

The following is a look at the Eagles' 2016-17 "competitiveness chart" – the measure of how long a team leads, is tied and trails in a game:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME AHEAD

TIME TIED

TIME BEHIND

11/12/16

at Indianapolis

11:36

6:11

22:13

11/13/16

vs. Southern Ind.

26:17

3:44

9:57

11/15/16

at Shawnee State

unavailable

11/19/16

WILBERFORCE

39:09

0:51

0:00

11/22/16

CALIFORNIA (PA.)

34:12

2:49

2:59

12/1/16

at Lake Superior State

14:46

18:06

7:02

12/3/16

at Northwood

16:57

18:11

4:52

12/8/16

SAGINAW VALLEY

0:00

0:41

39:19

12/10/16

WAYNE STATE

14:28

1:50

23:42

 
 

AU

MBKB/DS