THE TURNING POINT: Ashland trailed 56-47 with nine minutes left in the game behind Findlay went on a 17-5 run.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Oilers ended the game with 16 offensive rebounds, resulting in 15 second-chance points.
FINDLAY – In a matchup of the top two teams in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's South Division, Ashland University's men's basketball team lost at Findlay, 85-65, on Saturday (Feb. 18) at Croy Gymnasium.
"They're a great team at home, there's no doubt about that," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "We had a stretch in the second where we weren't sharp, and that was the turning point of the game."
The Eagles, who have clinched a spot in the 2017 GLIAC Tournament, are 16-9 overall and 11-8 in the conference, while the Oilers, winners of the South, are 21-5, 15-4.
Ashland was led offensively by senior guard Adrian Cook, who, with 16 points, became the 26th player in program history to score 1,000 points in a career.
"I'm very proud of him," Ellenwood said. "Adrian's a guy who's worked for everything. He was a walk-on here. He has earned his scholarship through his tenure here. Just a tremendous person to coach, and I couldn't be more proud of somebody getting that accomplishment."
Sophomore guard Ben Haraway added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Eagles.
For the Oilers, Martyce Kimbrough led all scorers with 29 points, while both Taren Sullivan (19) and Elijah Kahlig (15) scored in double figures.
Findlay jumped out to a 10-4 lead, and the score didn't change for the next 2½ minutes. Freshman guard Nick Bapst's 3-pointer cut Ashland's deficit to 10-7, but the Oilers continued to keep the Eagles at arm's length.
With its largest lead of 10 points and smallest at five for most of the remainder of the first half, it looked as if Findlay was going to take a multi-possession lead into the halftime break. However, Ashland turned a 31-23 deficit into being down 31-29 going into the locker room thanks to six quick points from Haraway.
Just 22 seconds into the second half, junior forward Marsalis Hamilton tied the game at 31 with a layup. Haraway then continued his hot offensive game with a triple to cut the deficit to 35-34. Junior center Teddy Metzen re-tied game at 35 with a free throw.
Findlay continued to attempt to pull away, scoring eight points in a row to force an Ashland timeout with 14:55 to go. The Oiler lead moved to 47-37, then 53-40 inside of the 12-minute mark. Findlay's 18-5 run featured five different scorers.
With 10:14 to go in the second half, Cook's old-fashioned 3-point play allowed him to go past the 1,000-career-point plateau. That cut the Eagle deficit to 54-45, but the Oilers had the answer in the form of a 10-2 run to pull away.
Saturday was the 17th consecutive loss for Ashland in Findlay, and the Eagles haven't won at the Oilers since Jan. 19, 2002.
UP NEXT: Senior Night and the 2016-17 regular-season finale on Thursday (Feb. 23) at 7:30 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium vs. Tiffin (11-16, 6-13).