THE TURNING POINT: Trailing 64-61 with 7:34 to play, Ashland finished the game outscoring Hillsdale, 25-12.
STAT OF THE GAME: Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton scored 17 of his career-high-tying 21 points in the second half.
Staring another second-half lead lost right in the face, Ashland University's men's basketball team righted itself just in time to keep its recent home fortunes intact.
On Saturday (Jan. 14) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium, the Eagles completed a 4-1 homestand with an 86-76 victory over Hillsdale, to improve to 10-6 overall and 5-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Ashland is in a tie for third place in the GLIAC South Division, 1½ games behind first-place Findlay and a half-game behind second-place Walsh.
The Chargers are 7-9, 3-7.
Down 64-61 with 7:34 to go in the game, Ashland began its final comeback. A 9-2 spurt was finished off by a jumper from senior guard Adrian Cook, then, leading 77-74 with 2:15 to play, the Eagles scored nine of the game's final 11 points to seal the victory.
Junior forward Marsalis Hamilton scored 17 of his game-high and career-high-tying 21 points in the second half, and was 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds and five assists in the victory.
"You know what happened? Marsalis Hamilton happened. He was a great player for us tonight," Ashland University head coach John Ellenwood said. "That team was hot. They're healthy, and they're very confident. And their backs were against the wall. Just another day in the GLIAC.
"Our guys finally played team basketball, and they got the stops and they found a way, and I think Marsalis was a big reason for that today."
Hamilton said, "(It is) just my coaches, my teammates, everybody trusting in me. I trust myself, I'm a confident player. Just find the mismatch and make a play.
"This a big jump off the diving board. The staff's got trust in me, my teammates have trust in me. It's really about being consistent, about being productive."
Senior guard Adrian Cook had 16 points on 5-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, senior guard Boo Osborne scored 13 points, sophomore forward Phil Frentsos came off the bench for 12 points and sophomore guard Ben Haraway chipped in with 10 points.
Ashland shot a season-high 63.0 percent from the field, and was 6-of-12 from 3-point range. The Eagles hit 22-of-24 from the free-throw line, and have hit 54 of their last 63 (85.7 percent) from the charity stripe.
"That's like a baseball streak," Ellenwood said. "We're not talking about that."
Each team turned the ball over just eight times on Saturday.
UP NEXT: On the road on Thursday (Jan. 19) at 7:30 p.m. against Lake Erie.