The Ashland University men's basketball team trimmed a 20-point second half deficit down to just five points late, but the Eagles could not get over the hump, falling to Wayne State, 69-60, on Thursday (Feb. 1) night in Detroit.
The Eagles (15-6, 8-5 GLIAC) led in the early-going with redshirt-freshman guard Joey Zahn hitting the first of his three 3-pointers with 14:19 left in the first half to push AU ahead 8-7.
The Warriors (10-8, 8-5 GLIAC) rattled off the next eight points before Ashland rallied to tie the game at 18 on a layup by redshirt-junior guard Ben Haraway. A 6-0 run by Wayne State game the home team the lead for good as the Warriors took a 38-30 lead into halftime.
Wayne State pushed that advantage to 53-33 with 14 minutes to play and the host still led 60-46 after Ronald Booth's three free throws with 7:53 remained.
That is when Ashland's rally started. Senior forward Wendell Davis scored on a layup and junior forward Phil Frentsos buried a triple off an offensive rebound by redshirt-freshman guard Aaron Thompson. Thompson followed with a scoring drive and Haraway then connected on a pair of free throws.
Booth then sank a 3-pointer, but Haraway responded with a three-point play with 3:46 left. After forcing a miss, Haraway's layup had the deficit down to five points, 65-60, with 3:14 to play, but the Eagles were not able to get on the board again as the Warriors pulled away in the final moments.
Both teams shot 47 percent from the floor, but the Eagles were hurt by 14 turnovers as the Warriors turned those into 20 points. Meanwhile, AU forced just eight tunovers, scoring seven points off WSU's miscues.
Davis led the Eagles with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five boards and three assists. Frentsos was the only other Eagle in double figures with 10 points, hitting three triples.
Marcus Moore led Wayne State with 16 points while Booth added 15 and George Spencer chipped in 13.
The Eagles will look for a road split on Saturday (Feb. 3) at 3 p.m. when they take on Davenport in Grand Rapids, Mich.