AU Men To Begin Conference Play At LSSU, Northwood

AU Men To Begin Conference Play At LSSU, Northwood

PDF LINK TO WEEK 4 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team will go back on the road to begin Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, taking on Lake Superior State (2-1) on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Northwood (0-7) on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.

The Eagles are coming off a 2015-16 season in which they won the GLIAC South Division outright and a share of the overall GLIAC regular-season title for the first time.

The Eagles went 4-1 in the first five non-conference games of the 2016-17 season, with three of those victories coming away from Kates Gymnasium. Ashland's last two wins, however, came at home – Nov. 19 against Wilberforce (92-57) and Nov. 22 vs. California, Pa. (80-67).

Ashland will play four of its next six games on the road before having a five-game homestand to end December and begin January. The Eagles haven't shied away from the challenges of unfamiliar gyms, buses and hotel rooms, however, winning 13 of their last 17 road/neutral-site contests.

 

Eagles On The Air

- Both games this week will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Noah Cloonan on the call.

- Select home games will be aired live on WRDL-FM 88.9.

- Head coach John Ellenwood appears on "The Early Bird's Word" on WRDL every Friday at 7:30 a.m. during the season.

 

Eagles Vs. Lakers And Timberwolves

Ashland is 8-15 all-time against Lake Superior State. Last season, the Eagles lost on the road to the Lakers, 82-76. Guard Boo Osborne scored a game-high 27 points, while forward Wendell Davis posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The last Ashland win in the series came in 2014-15, a 70-68 decision at Kates Gymnasium that came down to the last shot of the game.

Against Northwood, Ashland has an all-time edge of 16-10, including a 91-74 win in Midland, Mich., in 2015-16. In that game, four Eagles scored in double figures, led by Osborne, who posted 23 points along with 11 rebounds.

"Right now, I'm happy," Ellenwood said. "You always want to try to improve as the year goes on, but we need to play really good basketball to compete this week against these two teams, especially our first one here with Lake State.

"They're very, very good, and they might have the Player of the Year (junior guard Akaemji Williams) in the conference, and maybe in the country, right now. Playing at their place is not an easy place to play. We've got to be very focused and execute at a very high level against them."

 

The Eagles Like "The Kates," But…

The Eagles were a school-record 11-3 away from Kates Gymnasium in 2015-16, including winning their first five road/neutral-site contests. Ashland has won 13 such games since the start of 2015-16 - or one more than the program won in the previous three seasons combined.

"We have the attitude that we can go anywhere and compete with anybody," said Ellenwood. "The win at Indy was a good one for us. It gave us a little early-season confidence, especially winning at a tough venue. We've just got to have that attitude."

The Eagles are shooting for their third consecutive season of .500 or better play away from Kates Gymnasium.

A look at Ellenwood's first seven-plus seasons shows how far Ashland has come in terms of success when getting on the bus:

 

SEASON

ROAD/NEUTRAL RECORD

2009-10

3-10

2010-11

4-9

2011-12

3-9

2012-13

3-9

2013-14

2-10

2014-15

7-7

2015-16

11-3

2016-17

2-1

 

Ashland's Defense Isn't Resting

In 2015-16, Ashland finished tied for eighth in NCAA Division II in field-goal percentage defense (40.0), tied for seventh in scoring defense (65.4 ppg.) and sixth in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (29.7).

Entering conference play this season, the Eagles are second in the GLIAC in scoring defense (64.0 ppg.) and field-goal percentage defense (39.4).

 

The GLIAC Season Is Upon Them

The start of a new conference season is exciting. Ashland has enjoyed league play more the last two years, having won back-to-back GLIAC South championships and a share of an overall league regular-season crown.

In the last two seasons, the Eagles have gone 31-13 in the GLIAC regular season.

"It's a one-game season. We know that," Ellenwood said. "They're excited to play league play. The teams that you're familiar with, you're playing for a little bit more in these games. Our guys really like that competitive attitude when it comes to league play."

 

Eagle Scoring Coming From Many Sources

Six Eagles - senior guard Adrian Cook (12.6), sophomore guard Ben Haraway (11.8), senior guard Osborne (10.8), sophomore guard Nick Bapst (9.4), junior center Teddy Metzen (8.0) and junior forward Marsalis Hamilton (7.2) - are averaging at least seven points per game in the season's early going.

Four different players have been Ashland's leading scorer in the first five games.

"We've got to learn how to move the basketball and share the basketball," said Ellenwood, whose team is averaging 14.2 assists per game. "I think our guys are starting to figure that out. We're moving in the right direction. We're not turning the ball over as much (15.0 per game)."

 

Ashland Has The Rebounding Edge

Even without its rebounding leader in the last two seasons in Davis, Ashland has an early-season rebounding margin per game of plus-7.4, good for third in the GLIAC.

Hamilton has picked up the slack, leading the Eagles at 7.6 boards per game, and Osborne is second from the backcourt at 5.0 rpg.

"We're doing better than I thought. We can always do better with that," Ellenwood said. "Marsalis is doing a great job for us down low, and Teddy (3.0) and (freshman center) Drew (Noble, 3.2) are great rebounders. Boo Osborne is a very good rebounder, so we're doing OK."

 

Metzen, Noble Team Up For Solid Production

Metzen has moved into a starting role at center for the Eagles this season, with Noble coming in from the prep ranks to serve as the primary backup. So far, the results have been solid:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

PTS.

REB.

11/12/16

at Indianapolis

17

3

11/13/16

vs. Southern Indiana

13

8

11/15/16

at Shawnee State

9

3

11/19/16

WILBERFORCE

8

8

11/22/16

CALIFORNIA, PA.

12

9

 

"They're a 1-2 punch. I call them a tag team," Ellenwood said. "Teddy is the one that runs them into the ground and out-speeds you, and Drew is the guy that just beats you up. And they have to continue that path, and they're both very, very good and I'm excited about the progress both of them are making."

 

The Road To 1,000

With 22 regular-season games to go, Ashland more than likely will get a couple new members of its 1,000-point club.

Osborne (805) needs 195 points to reach 1,000, while Cook (724) needs 276. Hamilton (601) has 399 points to go to get to the milestone.

 

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

113

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

197

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

George Donges

7 1/2

John Ellenwood

7+

 

Ellenwood will become just the second Ashland head coach to reach 200 games on Dec. 8 at home against Saginaw Valley State.

 

Off To A Strong Start At Home

With a 2-0 start to the 2016-17 Kates Gymnasium schedule, the Eagles are 28-6 (.824) at home since the start of the 2014-15 season.

In 50 seasons all-time at "The Kates," Ashland is 534-190 (.738), with 41 winning campaigns.

 

2016-17 Competitiveness Chart

The following is a look at the Eagles' 2016-17 "competitiveness chart" - the measure of how long a team leads, is tied and trails in a game:

 

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME AHEAD

TIME TIED

TIME BEHIND

11/12/16

at Indianapolis

11:36

6:11

22:13

11/13/16

vs. Southern Ind.

26:17

3:44

9:57

11/15/16

at Shawnee State

unavailable

11/19/16

WILBERFORCE

39:09

0:51

0:00

11/22/16

CALIFORNIA (PA.)

34:12

2:49

2:59

 
 

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