THE TURNING POINT: Ashland jumped out to a 9-1 lead and went on to victory.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles' 26 assists were their highest single-game total in more than nine years.
Opening up the home portion of its 2016-17 schedule after three straight games on the road, Ashland University's men's basketball team defeated Wilberforce, 92-57, on Saturday (Nov. 19) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles are 3-1, and the Bulldogs are 4-3.
"I was proud of our guys, especially that first half," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "I thought they kept the foot on the pedal, and won the way we wanted to win."
Ashland received contributions up and down the roster on Saturday. Sophomore guard Nick Bapst came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points in 20 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from the 3-point line.
"It felt great," Bapst said. "I'm just blessed to be here, the opportunity we have here. Finally, I got to knock some down and it felt really good."
Senior guards Adrian Cook (13) and Boo Osborne (11) also scored in double figures. Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton posted seven points, eight rebounds and seven assists, sophomore guard Ben Haraway added nine points, seven rebounds and three assists and sophomore forward Phil Frentsos chipped in with eight points, six boards and three helpers in the victory.
The Eagles finished with 26 assists on 34 field goals, their highest single-game assist total since Nov. 15, 2007 at home against Tiffin (27). Ashland also ended up with a 48-35 rebounding advantage.
"All week long, I thought we were kind of stagnant (in practice)," Ellenwood said. "We are used to playing through one guy (injured senior forward Wendell Davis). We have to be able to get more assists in the game, and I think that's something we're trying to do."
Added Bapst of Davis, "It was a big transition for sure, because last year, we ran everything through him. This year, everything is more spread out. On any night, anybody can put up points."
Ashland got 50 points from its bench – none more significant than the five scored by senior forward Michael Cain. Cain, a former member of the military, scored his first five collegiate points and added two rebounds in three minutes.
"I'm proud of Mike Cain," Ellenwood said. "Everything that he's gone through in his life, it's neat to see him have those moments. I got to be a fan for a couple minutes tonight."
UP NEXT: Tuesday (Nov. 22) at 7:30 p.m. at home against California (Pa.).