Ashland Men To Play Key Home, Road Games This Week

Ashland Men To Play Key Home, Road Games This Week

PDF VERSION OF GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team faces a key week in its pursuit of a third consecutive berth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Eagles (15-8 overall, 10-7 GLIAC) are in the No. 7 spot in the overall conference standings, and No. 2 in the GLIAC South Division going into the next-to-last week of the regular season. Ashland is one game behind the trio of Lake Superior State, Wayne State and Grand Valley State for the fourth and final home GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal spot, and two games ahead of fourth-place Walsh in the South with three games to go (the top three teams in each division and two wild cards qualify for the conference tournament).

That makes Ashland's game at Kates Gymnasium on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. against the Cavaliers (15-9, 8-9) a key one for both teams. The Eagles then finish the regular-season road schedule on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. vs. South-leading Findlay (19-5, 13-4).

Ashland comes into the week having gone 8-2 in its last 10 games.

 

Eagles On The Air

- This week's games will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Marty Bannister (Walsh) and Noah Cloonan (Findlay) on the call.

- This week's home game 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 Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. during the season.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Ashland improved to 8-3 at home this season after its 93-73 win over Lake Erie. In the process, the Eagles hit 15 3-point field goals - their most since hitting 16 at Lake Superior State on Jan. 26, 2008.

"Rest does a lot for you," Ellenwood said. "If you have fresh legs this time of year, shots go down. We got a little bit rested up, and I think this (last) weekend, having that bye, should help us going into this week.

"You've got to take what the defense gives you. You never want to tell your 3-point shooters not to take open shots. They've got to have confidence shooting it. You look good when your threes go in, and we were fortunate to be ready and have some great passes, and they went down."

Ashland posted 22 assists against the Storm, tied for the second-most in a game this season.

The game also produced a most intriguing team stat line, as Ashland hit exactly 60 percent from the field, from 3-point range and the free-throw line.

Earlier this season, the Eagles won at Walsh, 76-71, and topped Findlay at home, 86-65, during their recent seven-game winning streak. Ashland is 14-8 all-time against the Cavaliers, and 29-59 all-time vs. the Oilers.

Walsh features the conference's top two scorers in senior guard Zac Carter (24.9 ppg.) and senior forward Trey Fletcher (21.8).

"Walsh has the top two scorers in the conference. Last time we played them, we did a very good job defensively," said Ellenwood. "They'll be anxious to come in and prove that they can beat us and do it on our floor. That's a scary team to play.

"Then Findlay at Findlay, that's just a tough, tough game. The first five minutes of that game is going to kind of dictate how that game's going to go for us, and we've got to be ready to go into a tough environment and compete at a very high level."

As for the GLIAC Tournament race, Ellenwood knows there is little margin for error.

"It's such a toss-up right now," he said. "As there's less games to play, it will become more clear on what's going on. We've got a tough three games left. We'll figure that out as the tournament gets closer, but it can go a lot of different ways right now."

 

Cook Headed Toward History

Senior guard Boo Osborne became the 25th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points earlier this season.

Another senior guard, Adrian Cook, is attempting to become the 26th, and is getting closer by the game.

With 23 points against the Storm (10-of-11 shooting from the field), Cook has 978 career points - 22 shy of getting to the milestone.

"He doesn't want to say it, and we don't mention it to him, but he knows he's pretty close," Ellenwood said. "He had an outstanding game, a very efficient game and you just hope it carries over into the next game."

Cook has been one of the Eagles' workhorses in 2016-17, averaging 30.2 minutes per game (second on the team) and going for 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He hits 54.5 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from 3-point range and 86.0 percent from the foul line - the latter ranking fifth in the GLIAC.

 

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 23 games of 2016-17, nine of Ashland's regulars are averaging at least 4.5 points per game, with three going for double figures per contest.

A breakdown of Ashland's double-digit scoring games this season follows:

 

NAME

10+-POINT GAMES

Adrian Cook

17

Boo Osborne

14

Ben Haraway

12

Marsalis Hamilton

7

Teddy Metzen

6

Nick Bapst

5

Phil Frentsos

5

Drew Noble

3

Torin Wetzel

2

 

Ashland is averaging 15.1 assists per game, 2.9 per game more than a season ago, and good for a tie for fifth in the GLIAC. The Eagles have recorded at least 15 helpers in a game 12 times this season.

 

Launching – And Hitting – From Downtown

The Eagles have had four games with at least 10 made triples over the last six outings, and the team's 3-point field-goal percentage has risen over that span:

 

TIME PERIOD

3FGM

3FGA

3FG%

First 17 games

126

328

38.4

Last 6 games

60

127

47.2

 

Ashland leads the conference with a percentage of 40.9 from beyond the arc. That percentage also is tied for 14th-best in NCAA Division II through Feb. 13.

In the Eagles' 15 wins so far this season, they are hitting 42.0 percent from downtown, and in eight losses, the percentage is 38.8.

Wetzel is second in the conference in 3-point percentage at 46.2.

 

Noble's Starting Debut A Success

Making his first collegiate start against the Storm, Noble scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds, finishing just shy of a double-double in 25 minutes. He was 5-for-6 from the field and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.

"Drew did a great job," said Ellenwood. "As a coach, you are always worried about a guy starting for the first time - how's he going to react, how's he going to do in there. I thought Drew did an outstanding job. The future's very bright for him, and I was excited for him."

In his first 23 collegiate games, Noble is averaging 4.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, and leads Ashland in both field-goal percentage (59.0) and free-throw percentage (86.1) among regulars.

 

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

124

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

215

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

John Ellenwood

7½+

George Donges



AU

MBKB/DS