The Ashland University men's basketball team used a 19-0 run in the first half and an incredible shooting performance to earn its third straight win to start the season, beating host California (Pa.) on Wednesday (Nov. 15) night in in-region, nonconference action, 97-87.
Senior forward Wendell Davis posted a career-high 37 points on 13-for-17 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Eagles. Meanwhile, junior guard Ben Haraway scored an AU career-high with 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting, adding four assists.
The Eagles (3-0) shot 64.3 percent (36-for-56) from the field and missed only five field goals (15-for-20) in the second half. They were 11-for-21 from 3-point range with Davis burying five of those.
The Eagles trailed by six, 33-27, with 8:25 to play in the first half before exploding on a 19-0 blitz that gave the visitors a 46-33 lead with three minutes left before halftime. Davis scored nine of his points in that stretch and senior forward Marsalis Hamilton added six points. AU scored on nine of its 12 possessions in the five-minute run and held the Vulcans (2-1) to 0-for-7 shooting with three turnovers.
Ashland took a 50-41 lead into halftime as California closed the half on a 4-0 run.
After the break, the Eagles did not hit a field goal in the opening three minutes, but CalU trimmed the margin to just eight in that stretch.
Each time the Vulcans looked like they could mount a run in the second half, the Eagles stopped it with a make. Terry Davis Jr.'s dunk with 14:47 left cut the lead to 59-52, but Haraway answered back with one of his two 3-pointers to push it back to 10.
Six straight by the hosts had it back to 71-64 with nine minutes left, but Davis, Haraway and junior Phil Frentsos went on a 7-2 run to stretch the lead back to 78-66.
California cut it to 88-83 with two minutes left, but Davis ran the shot clock down and buried a contested 20-footer to stem the tide. Thirty seconds later, the Vulcans trailed 90-85, but Haraway dished to Davis, who sank a 3-pointer to put the game away with a minute left.
The Eagles got 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting off the bench from Hamilton, who missed the Eagles' last game with an injury. Frentsos finished with seven points and sophomore center Drew Noble and redshirt-freshman guard Joey Zahn added six apiece.
Isaiah Lewis and Davis Jr. led the Vulcans with 23 points apiece. California shot 55.4 percent (36-for-65) from the field.
The Eagles will return to the court on Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 21-22) at Kates Gymnasium at the AU Thanksgiving Classic, presented by Hampton Inn & Suites. AU takes on Indianapolis at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Kentucky State at 3 p.m. Wednesday.