Eagle Men Begin South Play At Home Vs. Panthers, Chargers

Eagle Men Begin South Play At Home Vs. Panthers, Chargers

PDF VERSION OF GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team has won two of its last three games heading into the start of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division play.

The Eagles (8-6 overall, 3-5 GLIAC) will play host to two South rivals this week - Ohio Dominican (9-5, 4-4) on Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Hillsdale (6-8, 2-6) on Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. Ashland is in fifth place in the South, but only one game away from second place.

In the first week of January, Ashland split two GLIAC home games – an 80-71 loss to Michigan Tech and a 67-48 win over Northern Michigan.

This week's contests finish off a five-game homestand for the Eagles.

Ashland comes into the week having won 30 of its last 39 (.769) home games.

The Eagles go into the final 12 GLIAC games of 2016-17 (13 overall with a non-conference game at home against Ohio Mid-Western on Jan. 21) looking for a three-peat in the South (co-title in 2014-15, outright in 2015-16).

 

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.

- All GLIAC home regular-season games will be aired on tape delay on SportsTime Ohio.

- 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

Ashland is coming off a week in which it earned its first home GLIAC victory of 2016-17.

"The Northern Michigan game, we haven't seen zone in a long time," said Ellenwood. "We knew going into the week we really had to focus on Tech for the first game, and we really didn't practice too much against the zone. Our guys did a good job of figuring it out halfway through the first half.

"I was proud of our guys for going against both those teams and playing really well. Unfortunately, the Tech game didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. Our guys fought hard, and weren't able to put together 40 minutes in that game."

Ellenwood earned career win No. 150 in the win over the Wildcats.

"Just glad I got an opportunity to get there," he said. "I think, whenever you reach these milestones and stuff like that, you're always thankful for the players and coaches that have been with you along the way, and the people that you've learned from.

"It's a blessing to have the young men that I get to coach every single day in practice and on the game floor, and work with the coaches that I've been able to work with over the years. It's just as much their wins as it is mine."

The Eagles have a 27-2 all-time series lead against the Panthers. In 2015-16, Ashland won both contests – 77-64 at home and 75-68 on the road.

Ashland boasts a slim 28-26 all-time series advantage over Hillsdale. Last season, the Eagles topped the Chargers at "The Kates," 74-53, as AU filled the stat sheet with a 37-23 rebounding advantage, a 50.9-percent shooting effort from the field and a 47.8-percent showing from 3-point range.

"ODU is a team that's kind of hungry for success, and they've been waiting and learning, and they do a great job," said Ellenwood. "Those guys are going to be hungry to beat us, I know that. They've gotten a lot of wins this year that we got last year. They're going to be very amped up. Hillsdale is a team that's as well-coached as any in the league. They've had some injuries this year that's kind of hampered them, but it seems like they are getting back to 100 percent. We're going to have to play our best to be competitive and win.

"I think our guys like the rivalries of the South teams, and that's something that they look forward to. When you play the North, you don't know the players as well as you do vs. the South. There's a little bit more competitive rivalry in those games."

 

Spreading The Wealth Offensively

Without injured senior forward Wendell Davis for the season, the Eagles have emphasized balanced offense and more passing. In the first 14 games of 2016-17, eight of Ashland's regulars are averaging at least 5.8 points per game, with three going for double figures per contest.

In those 14 games, five players have been AU's leading scorer in a game - senior guard Adrian Cook and sophomore guard Ben Haraway three times each, senior guard Boo Osborne, sophomore guard Nick Bapst and junior center Teddy Metzen twice each and co-leaders twice. No Eagle has led the team in points in a game in back-to-back games since Haraway on Nov. 22 and Dec. 1.

"The depth is a good thing," Ellenwood said. "We have a lot of guys that have potential to score. The other team's got to respect everybody in the floor. The problem is, we don't know who that's going to be every single night, but we're figuring it out as we go along."

The following is a list of double-digit scoring games for Ashland players so far this season:

 

NAME

10+-PT. GAMES

Adrian Cook

10

Boo Osborne

8

Ben Haraway

6

Teddy Metzen

6

Nick Bapst

4

Phil Frentsos

3

Marsalis Hamilton

3

Drew Noble

2

Torin Wetzel

2

 

Ashland is averaging 15.6 assists per game, 3.4 per game more than a season ago, and good for a tie for fifth in the GLIAC.

 

Ebbs And Flows With Free Throws

The Eagles went 14-for-14 from the free-throw line in the win against Northern Michigan. It marked the first time Ashland was perfect from the charity stripe in a game since Dec. 6, 2006 at home against Mount Vernon Nazarene (10-for-10).

AU has been more proficient at the foul line in the last six games:

 

TIME PERIOD

FTM

FTA

FT%

First 8 games

94

135

69.6

Last 6 games

85

109

78.0

 

"Free throws are all mental," said Ellenwood. "If you can put guys in situations in practice where there's pressure...you've got to give them repetition and put them in pressure situations in practice.

"Over (Christmas) break, we do a free-throw contest at the end of practice, and I think maybe guys just got competitive with that, and maybe that helped out. Honestly, it's the guys who get to the free-throw line the most that need to make them. If they're making them, you're in great shape."

Freshman center Drew Noble leads Ashland at 91.3 percent from the charity stripe, followed by Cook at 86.7.

 

The Difference In Defense

Ashland allowed a season-low 48 points in the victory against the Wildcats. The difference in the Eagles' defensive statistics between the eight wins and the six losses this season is vast:

 

CATEGORY

8 WINS

6 LOSSES

Points per game allowed

62.5

76.5

Field-goal percentage allowed

38.9 (186-478)

45.4 (164-361)

3-point field-goal percentage allowed

27.5 (49-178)

40.4 (42-104)

 

"Defense is focus," Ellenwood said, "and I think if you are alert and you have the awareness and you anticipate better than the other team, then you are going to be a better defensive team."

 

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

117

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

206

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

John Ellenwood

7 1/2

George Donges

7 1/2

 

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

12/8/16

SAGINAW VALLEY

0:00

0:41

39:19

12/10/16

WAYNE STATE

14:28

1:50

23:42

12/17/16

at Ferris State

1:27

2:26

36:07

12/19/16

at Grand Valley State

10:09

6:20

23:31

12/30/16

THIEL

39:44

0:16

0:00

1/5/17

MICHIGAN TECH

29:04

0:44

10:12

1/7/17

NORTHERN MICH.

31:06

7:40

1:14



AU

MBKB/DS