The Ashland University men's basketball team came back from a 16-point first half deficit to beat Ohio Dominican, 85-82, on Sunday (Nov. 10) afternoon in Columbus.
The Eagles (2-0) and Panthers (1-1) were tied at 82 with a minute to play after a Hasance Varence alley-oop dunk before senior center Drew Noble made a tough bucket in the paint to give the Eagles an 84-82 lead.
Redshirt-junior wing Aaron Thompson then won a steal on a tied-up ball before the teams traded misses to take the game under 10 seconds.
ODU reserve guard Ethan Haynes had his 3-point try from the corner rim as Noble collected the rebound. The Eagles' big man split a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game, and the Panthers never got off their desperation heave.
The Eagles (2-0), ranked No. 19 in the NABC Division II coaches' poll, trailed 24-8 just seven minutes into the game after back-to-back 3-pointers by Haynes, but Ashland rallied with a 14-0 run over the next three minutes to bring it to within two points. Thompson scored six points in that stretch.
Ohio Dominican withstood that run and stretched their advantage to 40-30 with three minutes left in the first half, but the Eagles closed on an 8-2 run, capped by the second 3-pointer of the half by sophomore Dylan Beaugard, who had career bests with 14 points and six assists in 26 minutes.
The Eagles finally tied the game for the first time with 18:41 to play on a bucket by senior guard Rodrick Caldwell. Their first lead came with 10:55 left on Thompson's layup. The Toledo native finished with a team-high 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting to go with nine rebounds.
The game was tight for the remainder of the game with neither team leading by more than six points. Caldwell's free throws after the final media timeout gave Ashland an 82-76 advantage, but the Panthers scored the next six points with the run ending on Varence's dunk.
Noble finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, shooting 8-for-15 from the floor. Freshman guard Ethan Conley scored all 11 of his points in the first half, while freshman guard Brandon Haraway added 11 points and four rebounds as the fifth AU player in double figures.
Sam Hickey led the Panthers with 29 points and Michael Scott added 22 points on 10-for-14 shooting.
The Eagles shot 55 percent (31-for-56) from the field and held the Panthers to 49 percent (32-for-66) shooting.
Ashland will have this week off before returning to the court next Tuesday (Nov. 19) with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off against Ohio State-Mansfield.