The Ashland University men's basketball team played its customary strong defense and all five starters scored in double figures as the Eagles opened the 2018-19 campaign with a 72-57 win at Lake Erie on Friday (Nov. 9) night at the Jerome T. Osborne Center in Painesville, Ohio.
Both teams fought through slow starts offensively, but the Eagles (1-0) recovered quickly, going on a 15-2 run during a 4-minute, 20-second stretch to turn a 6-2 deficit into a 17-8 advantage and forcing a Lake Erie timeout.
The Eagles, who led the GLIAC in scoring defense last season, dominated on that end of the floor in the first half, holding the Storm (0-1) to just 24 percent (8-for-34) shooting before halftime. Ashland took a 35-20 lead into the intermission.
After the break, the Eagles grew their lead to as many as 19 points and maintained a double-digit lead throughout as their defense carried the bulk of the weight.
Offensively, the Eagles shot 48 percent (26-for-54) from the field and went 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) from the line.
Junior center Drew Noble led the Eagles with 16 points to go with eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Derek Koch scored 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting and collected eight rebounds in his AU debut. Junior guard Rodrick Caldwell also made his Ashland debut and had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Redshirt-senior guard Ben Haraway added 12 points, four boards and three assists and redshirt-sophomore wing Aaron Thompson had 10 points and nine rebounds. Redshirt-freshman Ryan Batte played his first collegiate game and had four points and eight rebounds in nine minutes off the bench.
Gabe Kynard led the Storm with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Eagles held Lake Erie to just 33 percent (23-for-69) shooting for the game, including a 17 percent mark (5-for-30) from long distance.
The Eagles will play their home opener on Sunday (Nov. 11) at 3 p.m. against Ohio Dominican at Kates Gymnasium.