Eagle Men Start GLIAC Tournament At Lakers

Eagle Men Start GLIAC Tournament At Lakers

PDF VERSION OF GAME NOTES

Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team opens up play in its third consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Lake Superior State.

The Eagles are 17-9 overall and 12-8 in the GLIAC and the tournament's No. 6 seed, while the Lakers are 16-9, 13-8 and the tourney's No. 3 seed. Ashland finished second in the South Division, and LSSU was tied for second in the North Division.

Ashland comes into the postseason having gone 10-3 in its last 13 games following a 7-6 start in the first 13. Included in that first half of the season, however, was a 95-87 win at the Lakers on Dec. 1.

The Eagles go into the conference tournament coming off a 78-67 home win over Tiffin on Feb. 23.

Over the last three seasons, Ashland is 25-16 (.610) in road/neutral-site games.

This will be the Eagles' 13th GLIAC Tournament appearance. Ashland and Lake Superior State never have played each other in a conference tournament.

 

Eagles On The Air

- This week's game will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Marty Bannister on the call.

- Head coach John Ellenwood appears on "The Early Bird's Word" on WRDL every Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. during the season.

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Eagles ended the regular season with the win at home vs. the Dragons.

"It was good to get a win on Senior Night," said Ellenwood. "I was proud of our guys, especially the second half. I thought we came out with a little bit more sense of urgency, and a little bit more focus in the second half."

In the win earlier this season at the Lakers, Ashland's first GLIAC game of the season, the Eagles scored a season-high 95 points.

"In order to win at Lake Superior State, we're going to have to play better than we did against Tiffin," Ellenwood said. "It's going to be a tough opponent up there. We did it earlier this year, but it's not an easy task to beat them on their home floor.

"So we're excited about going up there, we're confident about going up there, but our guys know we've got to play a little bit better in the GLIAC Tournament to advance. We need to refresh with who they are, and game plans and stuff might change."

Ellenwood has seen his team be one half on, one half off of late. In order to change that, he said, "I think we need to focus on defense a little better. Tiffin came out and made some really tough shots. If they make them, congratulations, but they also had some easy shots where we weren't really focused. I can't live with easy points."

Junior guard Akaemji Williams is the Lakers' leading scorer, averaging 21.4 points per game, good for third in the GLIAC. Williams also far and away led the conference during the regular season at 7.8 assists and 3.1 steals per contest.

"Akaemji Williams is the engine for that team," Ellenwood said. "He's a phenomenal player. He's got almost eight assists per game. It's just somebody that's very difficult to stop.

"The good thing is we have some good defenders on our team, and it's going to be a battle, there's no doubt. They surround him with a bunch of shooters and some big guys that are very physical and know how to score. It's going to be a very difficult thing, on their home floor, to get them out of their comfort zone."

 

Osborne, Cook Earn GLIAC Postseason Honors

Ashland University senior guards Boo Osborne and Adrian Cook each have earned postseason recognition from the GLIAC, as the 2016-17 All-GLIAC Men's Basketball Awards were released on Monday (Feb. 27) afternoon.

Osborne earned spots on the All-GLIAC Second Team and the All-Defensive Team. Through the regular season, Osborne averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steal per game while hitting 45.1 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from 3-point range and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Osborne also was a second-teamer and member of the All-Defensive Team as a junior in 2015-16.

Cook also landed on the All-GLIAC Second Team. He comes into the 2017 GLIAC Tournament leading the Eagles at 14.1 points per game, while also averaging 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. Cook is hitting 53.1 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from beyond the arc and 82.4 percent from the foul line.

The 2016-17 GLIAC special awards went to Ferris State sophomore center Zach Hankins (Player of the Year), Michigan Tech guard Tommy Lucca (Freshman of the Year) and Ferris State's Andy Bronkema (Coach of the Year).

 

A Tale Of Two Halves

Halfway through the 2016-17 regular season, Ashland was 7-6 overall and 2-5 in the GLIAC. The second half of the regular season saw the Eagles go 10-3 overall and in the league.

The differences between the first 13 games and the latest 13 games are subtle, but key:

 

CATEGORY

FIRST 13 GAMES

LAST 13 GAMES

Points per game

75.2

75.8

Field-goal percentage

48.6

49.9

3-point field-goal percentage

38.6

43.1

Turnovers per game

13.5

12.4

 

"Senior leadership takes over, roles are a little bit more defined in the second half of the year," Ellenwood said, "especially with Wendell being out. We didn't know who to go to at the start of the year, but now we're a little bit more knowledgeable."

 

Spreading The Wealth Offensively

Without injured senior forward Wendell Davis for the season, the Eagles have emphasized balanced offense and more passing. In the 2016-17 regular season, all nine of Ashland's regulars averaged at least 4.9 points per game, with three going for double figures per contest.

A breakdown of Ashland's double-digit scoring games this season follows:

 

NAME

10+-POINT GAMES

Adrian Cook

20

Boo Osborne

15

Ben Haraway

13

Marsalis Hamilton

8

Teddy Metzen

6

Nick Bapst

5

Phil Frentsos

5

Drew Noble

5

Torin Wetzel

2

 

Ashland is averaging 15.1 assists per game, 2.9 per game more than a season ago, and good for sixth in the GLIAC. The Eagles have recorded at least 15 helpers in a game 14 times this season.

 

AU Continues To Find Ways On The Road

The Eagles are 7-6 in road/neutral-site games in 2016-17, assuring them of a third consecutive .500-or-better season away from Kates Gymnasium:

 

SEASON

W-L RECORD AWAY FROM HOME

2016-17

7-6

2015-16

11-3

2014-15

7-7

 

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

126

 

NAME

GAMES COACHED

Roger Lyons

439

John Ellenwood

218

Bill Musselman

159

 

NAME

SEASONS COACHED

Roger Lyons

16

John Ellenwood

7½+

George Donges

 

At home against Walsh on Feb. 16, Ellenwood became just the third head coach in the 97 seasons of Ashland men's basketball to win at least 125 games.

 

AU

MBKB/DS