THE TURNING POINT: Michigan Tech outscored Ashland 36-21 in the final 16:31 of the game after the Eagles had a 50-44 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles had 10 assists to seven turnovers in the first half, and three assists to seven turnovers in the second half.
The old adage "it's not how you start, but how you finish" works both ways.
For Ashland University's men's basketball team on Thursday (Jan. 5) night at Kates Gymnasium against Michigan Tech, a strong start didn't result in a victory. The Eagles dropped to 7-6 overall and 2-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following an 80-71 loss to the Huskies (6-7, 4-2).
"We didn't get the stops we needed," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "They did a good job of executing. They're a good team, they're tough and they made some big shots. They made us pay for every mistake."
The difference between the first 20 minutes and the second minutes for Ashland was striking. The Eagles had a 45-38 lead at the half thanks to 64.0-percent shooting from the field, a 46.2-percent showing from 3-point range and going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. In addition, AU had 10 assists to seven turnovers in the first half.
In the second half, however, Ashland had three assists to seven turnovers, shot 34.8 percent from the floor, 27.3 percent from behind the arc and 7-of-12 from the charity stripe.
"We didn't get stops in the second half," Ellenwood said, "and any time you don't get stops, you've got to go down against a set defense. In the second half, we were going 5-on-5 all the time, and sometimes, you get in the rut."
The Eagles scored the game's first nine points, and led by as many as 13 points in the first half at 34-21. AU had a 50-44 advantage with 16:31 to go in the game, but the Huskies outscored the Eagles 36-21 the rest of the way.
Tech scored 19 points off 14 Eagles turnovers, while Ashland forced just seven Husky miscues and scored six points.
UP NEXT: Home against Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 7) at 3 p.m. It will be Upward Basketball Day at Kates Gymnasium.