Eagle Men To Host Top-Ranked Cardinals, Warriors

Eagle Men To Host Top-Ranked Cardinals, Warriors

PDF LINK TO WEEK 5 GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team (6-1 overall, 2-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) isn't David, but the Eagles get a chance to slay Goliath this week anyway.

On Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Ashland, the leader of the GLIAC South Division, will play host to No. 1-ranked Saginaw Valley State (8-0, 2-0) in the Eagles' 2016-17 GLIAC home opener at Kates Gymnasium. On Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., AU will play the other GLIAC North Division leader, Wayne State (5-1, 2-0).

Ashland last played a No. 1-ranked team on Jan. 5, 2011 (a 72-58 loss at Findlay).

The Eagles are coming off two hard-fought road victories to begin conference play this season – 95-87 against Lake Superior State on Dec. 1 and 64-63 vs. Northwood on Dec. 3. Ashland has won five consecutive road games decided by six points or less.

Ashland comes into the week having won five games in a row overall, and is 28-6 in its last 34 home contests.

 

Eagles On The Air

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

- Both games this week 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.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Eagles got their conference season off to a good start with two hard-fought road victories.

"I thought our guys played extremely well in adverse situations, and found a way to get two wins," Ellenwood said. "I'm very proud of their efforts. Where we didn't play perfect, I thought we played hard, and never quit, and our attitudes towards winning were perfect, and I think that's something we need to continue on, especially into this week."

The victory at Lake Superior State saw key off-the-bench performances from sophomore forward Phil Frentsos (10 points, six rebounds) and senior forward Torin Wetzel (six points, eight rebounds, five assists).

"I thought Phil had a great game for us," said Ellenwood. "His energy and his effort was amazing for us. And Torin was solid in two facets of the game, one scoring and the other one rebounding. He did a great job for us.

"They've got to continue that forward. We're going to have different heroes on different nights."

The win at Northwood saw many heroes, as the Eagles had to rally for seven straight points to win after trailing 63-57 in the game's final 90 seconds. Senior guard Boo Osborne scored five quick points, then junior forward Marsalis Hamilton got a steal, made two free throws and grabbed the final rebound in the last 20 seconds.

Ashland is 2-0 in games decided by six points or less in 2016-17 after going 9-3 in such games in 2015-16.

"That's a game that a lot of years, we'd lose that game," Ellenwood said. "They were a team on the ropes, and playing like a team on the ropes, and I thought we had a little bit of 'road legs,' and our guys were playing that way.

"Boo made a big shot, and he's a winner. Marsalis Hamilton made two big free throws. He's a winner. When you recruit winners, sometimes, those things happen."

All-time against Saginaw Valley State, Ashland has a slight 12-11 series lead. Last season's matchup also was at Kates Gymnasium, and came down to a last-second winning layup by the Cardinals. Forward Wendell Davis scored a game-high 28 points, while Hamilton posted game-highs in both rebounds (12) and steals (five).

The all-time series against Wayne State has the Warriors with the 29-24 advantage. Ashland won both meetings in 2015-16, however, 68-61 on the road and 63-48 at home.

"Wayne State and Saginaw are two of the top teams (in the conference)," Ellenwood said. "Our next four games are going to be very, very difficult in this league. It's just got to be a one-game season right now. We're going to concentrate on Saginaw right now. They're enough to worry about. We're going to have to be firing on all cylinders."

 

Lyons To Be Honored Prior To SVSU Game

Roger Lyons, the winningest head coach in Ashland University men's basketball history, will be honored prior to the Eagles' home game against Saginaw Valley State at Kates Gymnasium.

Lyons guided the AU men from 1986-87 to 1988-89 while they were in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, then again from 1996-97 to 2008-09 in the GLIAC. He had a career record of 246-193 (.560) at Ashland, is the program's all-time leader in wins, games coached (439) and seasons coached (16), and led the Eagles to 10 winning seasons and eight GLIAC Tournament appearances.

In 1988, Lyons earned GLVC Coach of the Year and National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC)/Division II District Coach of the Year honors.

Lyons, a 1974 Ashland College graduate, also played basketball for the Eagles.

 

Metzen Growing Into Starting Role

Junior center Teddy Metzen has earned a starting role for the Eagles at center in 2016-17, and he has produced so far to the tune of 8.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 65.0 percent from the field.

In the two road wins last week, Metzen hit a combined 10-of-12 from the floor.

"He's doing great," Ellenwood said. "He gave us a big boost in that Northwood game (6-for-6 from the field). I thought he was exceptional, and he's only going to keep getting better. I'm very proud of Teddy and where he's developed to, and I can't wait to see where he is by the end of the season."

 

Eagles Coming At Teams From All Angles

Through the first seven games of the season, Ashland boasts six players averaging at least 8.7 points per night. All nine players seeing regular minutes go for at least 3.0 points per game.

"It's tough to look at us and say, 'Hey, we have to shut this guy down,'" said Ellenwood. "Obviously, Ben (Haraway) and Adrian (Cook) and Boo are guys that you have to focus on, but you've got Teddy, Nick (Bapst), Marsalis, and Phil and Torin and Drew (Noble). All those guys are doing great things, and they're going to continue to get better as the season goes on.

"As a coach, I'm still trying to figure out who we are. We have to find balance, and we're going to continue to see what guys can give us as the year goes on."

 

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).

Coming into the week, the Eagles are second in the GLIAC in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (28.6), and third in scoring defense (67.1 ppg.) and field-goal percentage defense (40.9).

"We're doing OK defensively," Ellenwood said. "Those numbers are great, but as a coach, I see flaws in our defense that need to continue to iron out. We're continually striving to get more alert on defense and play a little bit more aggressive on defense. That's something that I won't be satisfied with all year, but I'm happy with the results right now."

 

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

115

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

199

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.

 

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 15 such games since the start of 2015-16 - or as many as the program won in the previous four seasons combined.

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 REC.

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

4-1

 

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

12/1/16

at Lake Superior State

14:46

18:06

7:02

12/3/16

at Northwood

16:57

18:11

4:52

 
 

AU

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