The Ashland University men's basketball team never trailed on Thursday (Feb. 21) night and held off a feisty Northwood team, 83-77, in a grueling GLIAC game in Midland, Mich.
The Eagles (22-4, 14-4 GLIAC), ranked No. 18 in Division II, needed to make some crucial buckets down the stretch to secure the win over the Timberwolves (11-15, 8-10 GLIAC), who are fighting to qualify for the GLIAC Tournament. Meanwhile, the Eagles remained one game behind Davenport for first place as the Panthers defeated Michigan Tech on Thursday.
After Alec Marty made three free throws to cut Ashland's lead to 74-72, the Eagles got into a tight situation with a short shot clock, but junior guard Rodrick Caldwell, as he has done multiple times this season, drilled an isolation 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 77-72 lead with 1:21 to play.
Marty followed with a runner in the lane, but freshman guard Dylan Beaugard hit his own runner as the shot clock wound down to make it a two-possession game again, 79-74 with 35 seconds left.
The Eagles then got a stop and Caldwell sank both free throws to effectively seal the victory.
Junior center Drew Noble finished with a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebounds. He made all four of his 3-point attempts, establishing a career high. Caldwell added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Eagles started the game on a 14-4 run and took a 31-24 lead into halftime. The Timberwolves tied the game on multiple occasions, including at 34 with 17 minutes left, but the Eagles rallied to score the next nine points to gain separation.
AU led by as many as 12 points, 53-41 with 12 minutes left after Noble's 3-pointer, but Northwood would not go away until the final minute.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Aaron Thompson joined Noble and Caldwell in double figures by scoring all 13 of his points in the second half. He also had six boards in the game, but was limited to just 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
Frentsos scored nine points and collected five rebounds.
Marty led five Timberwolves in double figures with 16 points, but the Eagles held him to 6-for-18 shooting from the field.
The Eagles committed just seven turnovers on the night while being out-rebounded 30-27.
Ashland will look for its fourth straight win on Saturday (Feb. 23) with a 3 p.m. contest at Saginaw Valley in the final road game of the regular season.