This Week's Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 11 – Ashland at Lake Erie
Following the Eagles
Radio: 1340 WNCO-AM; www.wncoam.com; Ken Carman with the play-by-play
A Look at the Eagles
The Eagles continue their run through the GLIAC South on Saturday (Dec. 11) when they travel to Painesville, Ohio, to take on the Lake Erie College Storm. The Storm (2-4, 0-2 GLIAC) and the Eagles (3-3, 0-2 GLIAC) are each looking for their first league wins of the season in Saturday's game at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center.
Ashland is coming off an 0-2 trip through southern Michigan, losing a pair of four-point games at Hillsdale on Dec. 2 and Wayne State on Dec. 4. Lake Erie dropped a 60-52 decision to Wayne State and stumbled at Hillsdale, 79-55, on its recent road swing.
Ashland was picked to finish fourth in the GLIAC South Division in the GLIAC preseason poll. The Storm was picked fifth in the GLIAC South.
Head Coach John Ellenwood
John Ellenwood is in his second season guiding the Eagles and has compiled a record of 16-18, including a 9-15 mark in the GLIAC. In 2009-10, Ellenwood's Eagles were 13-15 and qualified for the GLIAC postseason for the first time since the 2007-08 season. He was named the Ashland University head coach on April 2, 2009 after three years as the head coach at Division III Thomas More College in Kentucky. Ellenwood's next win will be the 50th of his career. He is 49-68 overall and in his fifth season as a collegiate head coach.
While with the Saints, Ellenwood improved the program dramatically. The year before he arrived, Thomas More had just two wins. In his first season, the Saints were 3-23, but improved to 11-16 and 19-9 in the two following years. In his final season, Thomas More won the regular season and conference title in the Presidents' Athletic Conference and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in school history. The 19 wins were the most since the program became a Division III institution. Ellenwood was previously an assistant coach at Ohio Wesleyan and Capital.
Ellenwood played collegiately at the College of Wooster from 1996-2000 and earned All-America honors in his senior season. In his time at Wooster, the Fighting Scots were 96-19 and advanced to the playoffs all four years. Ellenwood is the NCAC career leader in field goal percentage (65 percent) and holds the conference record for most field goals in a game without a missed shot (11).
The Eagle Eye
Senior forward Kale Richardson (Carroll, Ohio/Bloom-Carroll) is the Eagles' leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game… he is 11th in the GLIAC in scoring and sixth in rebounding… he has been very efficient in all aspects on the offensive end, shooting 52 percent from the field, 45 percent (9-for-20) from three-point range and 87 percent from the line… Richardson leads the team with 10 steals and is tied for the team-high with four blocks… he scored 19 points, pulled down four rebounds and had two blocks and two assists in AU's loss at Wayne State last Saturday.
Sophomore point guard Ronnie Steward (Columbus, Ohio/University of Akron) has been solid as Ashland's lead facilitator with 13 assists on the season. He also has averaged 11.2 points per game and leads the team in minutes per game (32.7) – a figure that ranks sixth in the league… the transfer from Akron is shooting 93 percent (14-for-15) from the line… he has hit seven three-pointers and is 39 percent from outside… Steward led the Eagles with 13 points in last Thursday's loss at Hillsdale.
Junior center Cole Moore (Lake Orion, Mich.) is averaging 8.5 points in 18 minutes per game off the bench... he leads the GLIAC in field goal percentage with a 72 percent (18-for-25) mark… Moore had 11 points and four rebounds against the Warriors and was 5-of-6 from the field.
Sophomore center Evan Yates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.7 points per game… he is also second in rebounding with a 6.3 mark… Yates is shooting 58 percent from the floor.
Sophomore guard David Harris (Cincinnati, Ohio/University of Florida) saw an increase in playing time at Wayne State, playing 28 minutes and contributing eight points with an AU season-high six assists… at Hillsdale, Harris scored six points in just eight minutes… for the season, the transfer from the University of Florida is averaging 4.3 points and as totaled 11 assists.
Odds and Ends
The Eagles have lost three straight games by a combined 13 points and led in the last 10 minutes of each game… Ashland has seen a steady decrease in its turnovers, giving away the ball a season-low 11 times in its last game at Wayne State. In the last two games, though, the Eagles forced just nine turnovers in each game… The Eagles have shot at least 46 percent from the field in four of its six games and at least 50 percent in three of its six outings... AU's defense has allowed just one team to shoot better than 42 percent from the floor. For the season, opponents are connecting on 41.1 percent from the floor... The Eagles are shooting 36.5 percent from three-point range this season. In the last two games, Ashland is shooting 40.6 percent (13-for-32) from beyond the arc… Heading into last weekend's trip to Hillsdale and Wayne State, head coach John Ellenwood kept the same starting five players: Steward, forward Justin Garris (Ledgewood, N.J./NJIT), forward Antoine Childs (Beaver Falls, Pa./Western Carolina), Richardson and Yates. With the start of GLIAC play, freshman guard DaWuan Thomas (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) was inserted into the starting lineup and scored seven points in 17 minutes in his starting debut against the Chargers on Dec. 2... Overall, 10 players have played in all six games and nine of them are averaging at least 12 minutes per game… The Eagles have four players shooting at least 78 percent from the free-throw line – Steward (93.3 percent), Richardson (86.7 percent), Childs (80 percent) and Moore (79 percent)… Ashland is limiting opponents to shooting just 26.7 percent from three-point range. Last Saturday, the Warriors shot just 19 percent (3-for-16) from beyond the arc.
Facts and Figures
- In Thursday's loss at Hillsdale, the Eagles did not register a blocked shot. The last time AU did not block a shot came on Feb. 4 last season in an 86-70 win at Northern Michigan.
- On the season, AU is hitting on 74 percent of its free throws. That number has increased over the last four games when Ashland was 66-for-79 (83.5 percent) from the line.
- Unfortunately for Ashland, the Eagles ran into a hot Wayne State team on Saturday. The Warriors hit 30-of-31 free throws (96.8 percent) in their 75-71 win. It was just the second time the Eagles were out-shot at the line.
- The Eagles opened the season with a 3-0 mark. It was the first time since the 2004-05 season they had won their first three games.
- The Eagles had nine steals in each of the first three games this season.
- After Saturday's game against the Storm, the Eagles play just three games in the next 24 days – all of those games will be at Kates Gymnasium. AU hosts Northwood on Dec. 16 and No. 17 Hillsdale on Dec. 19. The Eagles then host Millersville on Dec. 30. The Eagles then travel to No. 2 Findlay on Jan. 5.
- In AU history, Richardson is ninth all-time in points (1,373), seventh in rebounds (605, five boards shy of Rob Van Essen for sixth) and eighth in three-pointers made (141, just one behind Greg Emmons for seventh and three behind Vahn Knight for sixth).
A Stacked Region
The GLIAC is widely considered one of the top athletic conferences in Division II for most sports. The GLIAC's sister conference in the Midwest Region, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, is known as a basketball powerhouse. This season is no different for either league. The GLIAC and GLVC contribute seven teams in the Top 25 of the National Basketball Coaches Association poll. The top two teams play in the region – Bellarmine is No. 1 in the country and Findlay is No. 2. The Eagles play at Findlay on Jan. 5 and host the Oilers on Jan. 29. Other Midwest Region schools included in the rankings are Grand Valley State (No. 14), Hillsdale (No. 17), Kentucky Wesleyan (No. 18), Southern Indiana (No. 20) and Northern Kentucky (No. 23). Also, Drury is listed in the "Others Receiving Votes" category. Ashland plays a total of five games against schools in the Top 25.
Ashland vs. Lake Erie
AU holds a 12-0 all-time series edge over Lake Erie. The teams have not played since the 1999-2000 season when the Eagles beat the Storm twice, 112-59 and 109-72. The Eagles shot a combined 70 percent (89-for-127) in those two games. Seven players scored in double figures in the latter game. Ashland's all-time high-scoring game came against the Lake Erie in the 1991-92 season when the Eagles triumphed, 145-85. The closest game between the schools came in 1998-99 when AU beat LEC by eight points, 79-71.
Scouting Lake Erie
While the Eagles have put the finishing touches on their fall semester, they have also had a week to prepare for the Storm, which also has not suited up for a game since Dec. 4.
The Storm (2-4, 0-2 GLIAC) opened the season with two wins over Wilberforce and Northwestern Ohio, but has dropped its last four games. Lake Erie is in its first season in the GLIAC and just its second as a full participant in NCAA Division II. The Storm was 11-16 as an independent last year, playing one of the most difficult schedules at the Division II level. Lake Erie played five teams ranked in the Top 25 last season and lost by two points and six points to No. 2 Florida Southern and No. 8 Indiana, respectively. The Storm led in the last two minutes of both games.
Lake Erie was picked fifth in the GLIAC South in the preseason media poll. The Storm is led on the floor by senior guard Ethan Bradshaw, who was named to the preseason All-GLIAC South second team. He is averaging 15.0 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures in five of the six games. Junior guard Brandon Smith is Lake Erie's second-leading scorer at 9.8 points per game. Sophomore center Garrick Sims is averaging 8.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. As a team, the Storm has struggled scoring averaging just 57.7 points per game in their last three, shooting less than 35 percent from the field in each game.
Head coach Cliff Hunt is in his sixth season at the helm of the Lake Erie program and is the school's all-time leader in wins (82-55). He won a pair of Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference titles in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Prior to his appointment at Lake Erie, Hunt was the head coach at West Geauga and Perry High Schools.
The Eagles return to the floor on Thursday (Dec. 16) for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff with the Northwood Timberwolves (2-7, 1-2 GLIAC). Ashland hosts No. 17 Hillsdale (9-0, 3-0 GLIAC) on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m.