The Ashland University men's basketball team outscored visiting Alderson Broaddus by 12 points in each half on its way to a 98-74 win on Sunday (Nov. 24) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles (4-0), ranked No. 15 in the NABC Division II coaches' poll, had seven players score in double figures and shot 56 percent (31-for-55) from the field.
The game was tight throughout much of the first half as the Battlers (1-4) were within three, 39-36, with three minutes left before halftime. From there, the Eagles scored the next nine points and took a 50-38 lead into halftime.
The Battlers had the deficit down to nine on a few occasions early in the second half, but the Eagles burst on a 29-6 run over a seven-plus minute stretch to take an 88-56 lead. Ashland shot 9-for-12 from the floor in that timeframe while holding Alderson Broaddus to just 2-fo-13 shooting.
"Coach came in the locker room at halftime and said we needed to lock down on defense," said senior guard Rodrick Caldwell, who finished with 15 points. "Offense is always going to be offense, but we need to play better on defense and I think that showed in the second half."
Junior forward Derek Koch led the Eagles with 18 points and seven rebounds. He was 6-for-8 from the floor and made four 3-pointers.
"I'm taking more of my opportunities this year," said Koch, who is shooting 54 percent from 3-point range on the season. "When I'm open I'm taking the shots, whereas last year I was a little more hesitant. They were doubling when we'd attack from the opposite wings and my teammates did a great job finding me on the skip passes."
Freshman guard Ethan Conley scored 14 points on just four shots, while freshman guard Brandon Haraway, redshirt-junior wing Aaron Thompson and redshirt-freshman guard Bryce Drews had 11 points apiece. Senior center Drew Noble had 15 points.
"I like the balance in scoring and equal opportunities," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "We run our offense to see who can draw two defenders or get an advantage on an isolation. You have a man advantage every time they double, so you just have to know how to move the basketball. When you have an unselfish team, the ball will find the right shot."
The Eagles shot 60 percent (12-for-20) from 3-point range in the game and led in rebounding, 39-28.
"The 3-pointers we're shooting are good 3-pointers," Ellenwood said. "When you're shooting 60 percent from three, it's not because guys are in your face. It's because you're shooting open threes. We're taking high percentage shots and sharing the ball."
Troy Cantrell paced the Battlers with 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting.
The Eagles will now play their next four games away from Kates Gymnasium, beginning Friday (Nov. 29) at 5:30 p.m. when they take on Le Moyne in the opening game of the Gary Miller Classic in Erie, Pa. The tournament is hosted by Gannon. The winner of that game will play the winner of Gannon and Alderson Broaddus while the losing teams will matchup on Saturday evening