Big Second-Half Rally Lifts Eagle Men Past ODU

Big Second-Half Rally Lifts Eagle Men Past ODU


THE TURNING POINT: Trailing 40-21 after the first minute of the second half, Ashland went on a 16-5 run to cut the deficit to eight points. 

STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles boasted a 45-29 rebounding advantage, which included 14 offensive boards.

Earlier in the week, Ashland University head men's basketball coach John Ellenwood was lamenting his Eagles' lost second-half leads so far in the 2016-17 season.

At home on Thursday (Jan. 12) night against Ohio Dominican, the tables were turned.

Trailing by 19 points early in the second half, the Eagles turned in a lengthy rally and defeated the Panthers, 62-59, at Kates Gymnasium. Ashland's third win in the last four games gives it a 9-6 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – the same mark as ODU.

"That's a tougher team than they've been in the past. They came out and punched us in the mouth, and we responded," said Ellenwood. "We really needed to have that effort in the second half in order to win. I'm glad we put ourselves in that position."

The Eagles moved into a three-way tie for third place in the GLIAC South Division, just two games behind first-place Findlay and a half-game behind second-place Walsh.

"Our conference, top to bottom, is just so good," Ellenwood said. "I'm not even thinking about winning the South title right now. We can't look at the big picture. You'll overlook something. It's just a slugfest in this conference."

Down 40-21 in the first minute of the second half, Ashland worked its deficit down to 10 points with nine straight at the 15-minute mark, then to seven points at 44-38 with 13:28 to go.

The Panthers led 53-44 with 9:32 to play, then the Eagles ripped off nine straight points to knot the game at 53 with 5:11 remaining on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Ben Haraway. Ashland led 58-56 in the final minute prior to an ODU triple, then senior guard Boo Osborne countered with a layup with 39 ticks remaining.

Osborne then provided the final margin of victory with two free throws with 19 seconds to play.

"We're the Kardiac Kids, I guess," Osborne said. "You can't get caught up on the score. You've got to battle back. You've got to fight, you've got to fight harder."

Osborne finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore forward Phil Frentsos added 11 points and Haraway ended with 10 points. Senior forward Torin Wetzel came off the bench for three points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Ashland won despite shooting 35.8 percent from the field, but hit 18-of-25 from the free-throw line, including 14-of-17 in the second half. The Eagles had a decided 45-29 rebounding advantage, and kept ODU to 39.2 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from the arc.

UP NEXT: The conclusion to a five-game homestand on Saturday (Jan. 14) at 3 p.m. against Hillsdale.