Eagle Men Survive, Advance To GLIAC Final Four

Photo courtesy of John Shibley/LSSU Public Relations
Photo courtesy of John Shibley/LSSU Public Relations


THE TURNING POINT: Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton converted an old-fashioned 3-pointer with 10:46 to play to give Ashland a 63-62lead, and the Eagles didn't trail the rest of the way.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles won twice in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in 2016-17 after not winning there since Dec. 1, 2005.

Ashland University's men's basketball team has made a habit of winning close road games in recent years.

That habit is one the Eagles don't want to kick any time soon, and they didn't in a 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal at Lake Superior State on Tuesday (Feb. 28) night, winning 84-81.

Ashland, the tournament's No. 6 seed, improves to 18-9, and is 11-3 in its last 14 games. The Eagles move on to their second consecutive GLIAC Tournament Final Four, winning a quarterfinal in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998-99.

Of Ashland's eight wins away from Kates Gymnasium this season, six have been by eight points or less and four have been by five points or less.

Senior guard Boo Osborne led the Eagles with 22 points, and with 1,082 career points, moves into 22nd place on Ashland's all-time scoring list. Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.

Senior guard Adrian Cook had 13 points to go with a team-high six assists, and with 1,041 career points, moves into 25th place all-time at Ashland. Off the bench, sophomore guard Nick Bapst chipped in with 12 points.

Ashland shot 51.7 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free-throw line. The Eagles also recorded 17 assists and only turned the ball over eight times – tied for the second-lowest total of the season. AU turned 11 Laker turnovers into 14 points.

For Lake Superior State (16-10), guard Akaemji Williams posted game highs with 26 points and 11 assists, while Carson Manger scored 19 points. The Lakers shot 51.7 percent from the field.

The Eagles trailed 11-10 in the first five-plus-minutes of the game before the Lakers scored the game's next 10 points. A back-and-forth affair, Ashland turned a 26-18 deficit into a 28-26 lead thanks to four layups and two free throws.

Lake Superior State took a 43-42 lead into the locker room, a lead which grew to 56-51 at the 14-minute mark of the second half following a Williams jumper. The game continued to feature an Eagle push-back followed by a Laker push-back, then Ashland took the lead for good with 10:46 to play when Hamilton converted a 3-point play for a 63-62 advantage.

Back-to-back Osborne buckets gave the Eagles what seemed like a comfortable lead at 77-70 with 3:33 remaining, but the Lakers had a few more pushes left in them. Lake Superior State cut its deficit to two points on four separate occasions in the closing minutes, but could get no closer.

Sophomore forward Phil Frentsos hit 1-of-2 free throws with three seconds to play, and a last-second triple attempt for the Lakers was unsuccessful.

Tuesday's game was the first time Ashland and Lake Superior State played in a GLIAC Tournament contest.

UP NEXT: The GLIAC Tournament Final Four, and a semifinal on Saturday (March 4) at 5 p.m. against Findlay (23-5) at Ferris State. The Eagles and Oilers split the season series, each winning at home.