The Ashland University men's basketball team overcame a sluggish start to rout visiting West Virginia Wesleyan, 76-40, on Monday (Dec. 18) night at Kates Gymnasium.
The 40 points allowed by the Eagles were the fewest since a 20-14 win over Fredonia State on Feb. 17, 1973. It is the fewest points allowed by the Ashland program in the shot clock era, which began in 1985.
The Eagles (9-3), who have won four straight games heading into a 12-day layoff for Christmas break, held the Bobcats (1-11) to just 30.8 percent (16-for-52) shooting. No players scored in double figures for the visitors.
It took the Eagles a little bit to get into the flow of their offense against the Bobcats' 3-2 zone, but in the second half, the Eagles solved the WVWC defense. AU shot 57.6 percent (19-for-33) from the field, including seven 3-pointers, in the final 20 minutes.
"We got a feel for their tendencies in the first half and how people are going to guard you," said senior forward Marsalis Hamilton. "Once you figure that out, you exploit it."
Hamilton, who attacked the basket for seven free throw attempts in the first half, used his aggressiveness against the zone to find open shooters on the perimeter in the second half. The result was a career-high 10 assists, the most by an AU player since DaWuan Thomas had 10 against Hillsdale on Feb. 29, 2012.
"Sell was big in the first half, being aggressive, and getting into the guts, along with Drew (Noble)," said senior forward Wendell Davis. "That led to the second half with a couple of us knocking down some shots, because they were ultra-aggressive in the first half. That really helped us out."
Davis finished with a game-high 26 points to go along with eight rebounds. He also hit a career-high six triples with five coming in the second half when he had 19 points. He also climbed into fifth place on AU's all-time scoring list and now has 1,588 career points.
"Sell had a lot of kick-out threes and that didn't come from me," said Davis. "That came from the first half, he made four or five layups and got fouled. That led to me getting open. It was just staying consistent in what we were doing."
Noble, a sophomore center, finished with 12 points and career highs in rebounds (15) and steals (four). He helped the Eagles win the battle on the glass, 49-26.
Dusan Vicentic led the Bobcats with eight points and Luka Petrovic had seven points, three rebounds, four assists and six steals.
The Eagles now have a long layoff for Christmas before returning to Kates Gymnasium to take on Thiel at 3 p.m. on Dec. 30.