AU Men Take Seven-Game Win Streak Into South Second Half

AU Men Take Seven-Game Win Streak Into South Second Half

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Opening Tip

The soaring Ashland University men's basketball team will take a seven-game winning streak into the second half of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division play.

The Eagles (14-6 overall, 9-5 GLIAC), second in the GLIAC South Division and just one game behind first-place Findlay, will play at Ohio Dominican (11-9, 6-8) on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and at Hillsdale (10-10, 6-8) on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

Ashland and the Oilers have separated themselves from the rest of the South, with the Eagles ahead of the third-place trio of Walsh, Ohio Dominican and Hillsdale by three games with six regular-season contests to go in 2016-17.

The magic number for the Eagles to make their third consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance is four.

The Eagles enter the new week with the conference's second-longest active winning streak, behind Ferris State (13).

Ashland comes into the week having won 25 of its last 38 road games (.658), including the last three.

 

Eagles On The Air

- The next two games will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Marty Bannister on the call.

- 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 Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. during the season.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Ashland is coming off three wins in five days – 76-71 on Jan. 26 at Walsh, 86-65 on Jan. 28 at Kates Gymnasium vs. Findlay and 85-74 on Jan. 30 at Tiffin – to run its winning streak to seven and stay undefeated in GLIAC South play.

"I think we've gotten great focus out of some of our players right now that's led to that," Ellenwood said. "They've done a good job of just focusing on one possession at a time. We're not looking at the whole process of the game. We're not looking at the next games coming up."

The seven-game winning streak is the Eagles' longest since their 12-gamer from Jan. 23-March 1, 2016.

Ashland's two best single-game field-goal percentages of the season have come in the last five games (63.0 at home vs. Hillsdale on Jan. 14 and 62.7 at Tiffin). In the last two games, the Eagles have shot 60.7 percent from the field, and their 49.5 percent for the season and 40.3 percent from 3-point range both lead the conference.

When South Division play began, the Eagles were in fifth place in the division and 11th in the GLIAC overall. Now, Ashland is alone in second place in the South and tied for fourth in the league overall.

"It's just a very balanced conference, and anybody can win on any given night," said Ellenwood. "You've got to just focus on the game in front of you."

Ashland is 28-2 all-time against Ohio Dominican, including a 62-59 win at home on Jan. 12. The Eagles trailed by 19 points early in the second half before mounting a comeback.

In the all-time series vs. Hillsdale, the Eagles lead 29-26, counting an 86-76 home victory on Jan. 14.

So far in 2016-17, the Panthers are 7-3 at home, and the Chargers are 5-4.

"Dominican, obviously, the people that saw that game and know what happened in the first half, that kind of woke us up," Ellenwood said. "I think our guys had some pride coming out of the locker room. Pride's great, but we can't allow that to happen at their place, or we're going to get run out of the gym.

"That's going to be a tough environment. A lot of our players are from Columbus, so there's going to be a great crowd. It's just not an easy place to play, but it will definitely be a fun environment. They're going to be fighting as hard as they possibly can. They're a very, very good basketball team right now. We're going to have to bring our best basketball."

 

Osborne Earns Second South Award Of '16-17

Ellenwood enjoys referencing the positive impact of "second-semester seniors" on the Eagles.

Senior guard Boo Osborne has been the epitome of a second-semester senior of late, and his showings in wins over Walsh and Findlay resulted in him being named GLIAC South Division Player of the Week on Monday (Jan. 30) afternoon.

In wins at the Cavaliers and at home against the Oilers, Osborne combined for 43 points on 14-of-18 (77.8 percent) shooting from the field and 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from 3-point range, and added nine rebounds and two assists.

Osborne became the 25th player in program history to score 1,000 career points in the win at Tiffin, and has 1,004 in his career. The statistics from his last three games are the stuff of video games - 69 points on 24-of-29 (82.8 percent) from the field and 17-of-20 (85.0 percent) from downtown.

"I just think he's ultra-confident right now, and we're feeding off him in every way, shape and form," said Ellenwood. "He's just having an amazing stretch as a senior, and I'm excited for him. It's special, and you love seeing that for your guys.

"No matter what happens to him from here on out and what happens to our team, Boo will always have those memories of this stretch right now, and I just want it to keep going for him."

 

Spreading The Wealth Offensively

Without injured senior forward Wendell Davis for the season, the Eagles have emphasized balanced offense and more passing. In the first 20 games of 2016-17, eight of Ashland's regulars are averaging at least 6.0 points per game, with three going for double figures per contest.

 

NAME

10+-POINT GAMES

Adrian Cook

14

Boo Osborne

14

Ben Haraway

11

Marsalis Hamilton

6

Teddy Metzen

6

Phil Frentsos

5

Nick Bapst

4

Drew Noble

2

Torin Wetzel

2

 

Ashland is averaging 15.1 assists per game, 2.9 per game more than a season ago, and good for fifth in the GLIAC.

 

The Charity Stripe Has Been Much Kinder

The Eagles have been a better free-throw shooting team in the last 12 games, in contract to the first eight:

 

TIME PERIOD

FTM

FTA

FT%

First 8 games

94

135

69.6

Last 12 games

180

234

76.9

 

Included in that hot stretch has been a 14-for-14 effort at home against Northern Michigan on Jan. 7, and a 22-for-24 showing vs. Hillsdale.

Cook leads the team in free-throw percentage at 88.0 percent, followed by freshman center Drew Noble at 84.8 percent.

 

Cook Also Headed Toward History

Thanks to 31 points in the last two games, Cook is up to 920 for his Eagle career, as he attempts to join Osborne and become the 26th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.

Cook has six regular-season games, as well as potential GLIAC Tournament and NCAA tournament contests, to reach the milestone.

 

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

123

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

212

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

John Ellenwood

7½+

George Donges



AU

MBKB/DS