Eagles Fall at Hillsdale for Second Straight Time in Overtime
ASHLAND, Ohio – Déjà vu is that feeling you get when you're sure you've experienced something twice. The members of the AU men's basketball team, unfortunately, are experts in déjà vu – except they've lived it.
For the second straight game at Hillsdale, the Eagles lost a three-point overtime affair with the Chargers, falling, 74-71, at Jesse Philips Arena in the opening round of the GLIAC Tournament. The Chargers (23-4) are the top seed in the tournament and will host the tournament's final four, while the Eagles (15-12) had their season come to an end.
AU junior guard Ronnie Steward (Columbus, Ohio/Akron) had his 3-point attempt at the buzzer blocked by Tim Dezelski to send the Eagles home in defeat.
The game was, by definition, a back-and-forth affair as the teams traded the lead 23 times and had 11 tie scores. Neither team led by more than eight points. Neither team had more than a three-point lead after the 14:24 mark of the second half.
The Eagles trailed, 68-66, with 52 seconds left after a jumper by Nick Washburn. AU head coach John Ellenwood called a timeout and the Eagles got the ball to junior forward Evan Yates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills), who converted a layup off an assist by redshirt-freshman DaWuan Thomas (Dayton, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) with 24 seconds left.
Tyler Gerber's jumper fell off the basket at the buzzer and the game went an extra five minutes.
Yates started the overtime period with a three-point play on the first possession, but the Eagles were scoreless in the period after that. Hillsdale cut the lead to 71-70 with 4:04 left on a Brad Guinane layup and took the lead with 2:15 remaining on a layup by Dezelski. The Chargers pushed that lead to 74-71 with 1:23 left on a Washburn basket.
Thomas missed a layup on the ensuing possession, but the Eagles got a stop on a shot clock violation by the Chargers. That set up Steward's 3-point try at the buzzer.
Yates recorded his 17th double-double of the season with 23 points (10-for-14) and 11 rebounds. He set the school record for rebounding average (11.3) for a season, breaking a record that stood for 40 years (Earl Hill, 10.8, 1971-72).
Yates scored 542 points this season - that is the highest total for an AU player since the 1990-91 season when Bernard McGuire scored 548. He is 17th on the AU all-time scoring list with 1,147 points going into his senior season.
Thomas had 11 points and a career-best 10 assists. The last 10-assist game for the Eagles came Feb. 7, 2008 when Bret Wackerly handed out 10 helpers against Northwood.
The Eagles – who trailed, 32-30, at halftime – got 16 points from sophomore guard Jordan Berlin (Wilmington, Ohio). He tied a career high with four 3-pointers on five tries.
Sophomore forward Will Evans (Lexington, Ky./Christian Academy) was 3-for-3 on 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Steward finished with 10 points and knocked down two 3-pointers.
The Eagles were 10-for-18 as a team from behind the arc and connected at a 54.9 percent (28-for-51) clip from the field. The Chargers shot 50 percent (32-for-64) from the field. Ashland was done in by 14 turnovers, but forced just five Hillsdale giveaways. The Chargers outscored the Eagles, 17-6, off turnovers and 18-0 in bench points.
Guinane led the Chargers with 16 points and Washburn finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Dezelski had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
It was the first 15-win season in three years under Ellenwood and the first 10-win GLIAC season under the AU head coach.