Eagles Stumble At ODU, 75-71

Brook Turson (32)
Brook Turson (32)

                Ohio Dominican is located in close proximity to the Columbus airport.

            There were times on Thursday night (Jan. 24) at ODU when the AU men's basketball team shared a feeling with unlucky passengers at that airfield. The Eagles discovered what it's like to be on standby.

            For much of the first half on Thursday, it seemed like the AU offense was delayed. Eventually, the Eagles overcame that problem, but they couldn't stay on course long enough to defeat the Panthers. ODU was able to hold off the Eagles, 75-71 and gain its first GLIAC win of the season.

            The victory ended a 13-game slide for the Panthers (4-14/1-2 GLIAC). As for the Eagles (5-11/3-10 GLIAC), they are still winless on the road this season. This loss puts them at 0- 8 in road games.

            Much of the first half was a struggle for the Eagles, but they deserve credit for battling back and putting themselves in a position to win.  At the 10:23 mark of the first half the Eagles were behind, 16-9.  With 7:07 left in the half the home team was in front, 25-13. ODU had its largest lead of the game, 32-18 with 4:47 to play in the first half.

            At that point, the Eagles seemed to take off. From that point until the buzzer sounded to end the half, AU outscored the Panthers, 14-3.  Ashland overcame 10 first half turnovers to trail by just 35-32 after 20 minutes. When the Eagles grabbed a 45-44 lead on a triple by sophomore guard Brook Turson (Plymouth, Ohio/Columbus State) with 16:01 to play, it appeared as if maybe AU's luck was changing.

            That advantage was short-lived. The Panthers regained the lead and managed to keep a narrow margin for much of the next few minutes. However, AU battled back and with 9:50 to go in regulation, two free throws by senior forward Evan Yates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) pushed the Eagles in front, 53-52.

            After that, neither team could pull away.  A three by Turson with 2:09 left gave Ashland a 69-68 lead.  AU's final lead came with 1:35 left on a pair of Yates free throws.

            The score was tied, 71-71 when ODU's Mark Minch hit two free throws with 26 seconds to go for a 73-71 ODU lead. In those final 26 seconds Ashland turned the ball over twice. With 10 seconds left, senior guard David Harris (Cincinnati, Ohio/Florida) misfired on a three-pointer from the corner. Turson retrieved the miss but couldn't convert on a layup attempt. ODU finally got the basketball and two free throws with a second left gave the home team its final margin of victory.

            Turson had his best game as an Eagle. He scored a career-high 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out four assists. Turson was 6-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-5 on three-point attempts. He was 5-of-6 at the free throw line. The sophomore had 14 second half points to lead Ashland's comeback bid. This was his fourth, double-digit point game of the season. He tied his career high in rebounds.

            The only other AU player to score in double digits was Yates. He had 14 points. Yates was 10-of-12 at the free throw line. Both teams did well at the charity stripe. Ashland was 24-of-30 (80 percent) and the Panthers were 18-of-20 (90 percent).

            ODU guard Morgan Jones led all players in the game with 22 points. He also had five assists and four steals. Forward John Trew had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Forward Bobby Stauffer had 12 points and seven rebounds.

            AU will host Tiffin on Saturday (Jan. 26, 1 p.m.).