No. 17 AU Men To Host Walsh, Travel To Malone

No. 17 AU Men To Host Walsh, Travel To Malone

For the full PDF version of the Week 9 game notes, go to


Opening Tip

Ashland University's men's basketball team will begin Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division play in Week 9 by doing the "Canton Split."

The Eagles, 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the GLIAC and leading the South by one game over Findlay, are ranked No. 17 in Division II. They will play host to Walsh (6-6, 4-4) on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium, then travel to Malone (3-10, 0-8) on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 3 p.m.

WNCO-AM 1340 will have the live call of both games, with Matt Brubaker on play-by-play.

Ashland is coming off two GLIAC home wins in Week 8, both of which needed second-half comebacks to be accomplished. The Eagles defeated Northern Michigan in overtime, 81-75, then topped Michigan Tech, 73-67.

This is the first time AU has been ranked for five straight polls in a single season since 1990-91.

The Eagles are 6-1 at home in 2015-16, and 19-4 (.826) in their last 23 games at Kates Gymnasium.


Looking Back To Week Eight

Against Northern Michigan, the Eagles trailed 54-45 with 9:25 left in regulation. Just outside of seven minutes left in the second half, sophomore forward Marsalis Hamilton grabbed two offensive rebounds and put in a layup to cut the Eagle deficit to 56-53. Then, trailing 68-66 with 19 ticks left in the second half, Hamilton grabbed another offensive board and stuck the put-back to tie the game.

In the extra period, Hamilton found junior forward Wendell Davis for the 3-point field goal which gave AU a lead it would not relinquish.

Davis posted game-highs in points (27) and rebounds (13) for his 14th career double-double, and added three assists while going 10-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Hamilton had 17 points and 11 boards while leading the team with five assists.

Junior guard Adrian Cook added 12 points in the victory.

Ashland scored 21 points off 18 Wildcat turnovers.

Versus Michigan Tech, the Eagles were down 36-30 at the half, then used an 11-2 run to take a 41-38 lead just three minutes into the second half. The game continued to go back-and-forth (there were 13 lead changes and nine ties), and it was tied at 67 before Cook hit a 3-point field goal with 46 seconds left to give the Eagles a lead they wouldn't give up.

Cook finished with a career-high 17 points, 15 in the second half.

Hamilton had a career- and team-high 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, while Davis added 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

"We played well at the end of those games," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "We were playing pretty good in the ending of those games."



The Eagles have a 12-7 series advantage over the Cavaliers.

In 2014-15, Ashland lost in Canton (71-65) and won at home (73-56). In the road defeat, Davis paced the Eagles with 20 points and seven rebounds, hitting 7-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Guard DaWuan Thomas had 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.

In the victory at Kates Gymnasium, Ashland got a double-double from Davis, who had game-highs in both points (19) and rebounds (10) while going 6-of-9 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Forward Paul Honigford came off the bench to add 11 points, three rebounds and two steals.

The Eagles shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, and 86.7 percent from the free-throw line for the game.



Ashland has gone 29-7 against Malone over the years.

The Eagles won both meetings against the Pioneers in 2014-15 - 80-61 at home and 72-69 in Canton. The home victory saw Davis lead the Ashland effort by turning in 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals. Thomas had a team-high 16 points and four assists to go with three steals, guard Cole Krizancic added 12 points in his first start of the season and forward Jett Speelman added 11 points off the bench.

On the road, three Eagles scored in a double figures, paced by Davis and Cook with 13 points each. Speelman scored 10 points, all in the first half.

Hamilton added nine points, five rebounds and three steals in the victory.

Ashland hit 24-of-29 free throws.


Eagles Continue To Reach New Heights

Another week, another milestone for Ashland.

The Eagles are ranked No. 17 in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 poll, released on Tuesday (Jan. 12). This marks the fifth consecutive week AU has been in the Top 25 – the first time the program has accomplished the feat in a single season since 1990-91.

Ashland also was ranked No. 21 on Jan. 5, No. 16 on Dec. 29, No. 22 on Dec. 15 and No. 18 on Dec. 8. This is the 68th week all-time that Ashland has been in the Top 25.


The Davis Watch Continues

Davis has 1,078 career points, and needs just 17 to pass Lamont Scott (1,094) and move into 20th place all-time at Ashland.

With 461 career rebounds, Davis needs just 39 more boards to become the ninth Eagle to be a 1,000-500 career player.

Davis has recorded three consecutive double-doubles, averaging 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in those games.

"He's always looking for a way to get better," Ellenwood said. "He's a player that demands more out of himself. He's changed his game because he had to, because the team needed him to. Over the past two years, he was down low. This year...we've kind of forced Wendell to be more of a perimeter player, and he's done really well with it."


Hamilton Growing With Bigger Role

Hamilton is a full-time starter as a sophomore after spending his entire freshman season coming off the bench.

The growth in his game is evident on the court, as well as on the stat sheet:





















In the last five games, Hamilton is averaging 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while hitting 59.1 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line.

"He's that surprise player," Ellenwood said. "We all knew he was a great player, but he's really put some stats up lately. This past weekend, especially, was an exceptional weekend for Marsalis, where he was just a winner. He refused to have the team lose, especially in the Northern Michigan game."


Ellenwood Nearing Rarified Air

Ellenwood (96) is four victories away from joining Roger Lyons (247) and Bill Musselman (129) as the only Eagle head coaches with at least 100 wins.

"I'm not one for milestones," Ellenwood said. "Those are two great coaches, and it's an honor to be in that conversation with those guys. But I'm not concerned about that in any way, shape or form. I'm concerned with getting to 101, I guess, after that."

Ellenwood has guided AU to a 33-14 (.702) record in its last 47 games.


This Year's Eagles Close To History

Including 2015-16, Ashland has started 11-3 or better through 14 games 22 times. This year's Eagles are tied for the third-best start through 14 games in program history, and only four previous Ashland teams have started a season better than this one:



















































NCAA Rankings

Through Jan. 11, the Eagles have played the seventh-toughest schedule in Division II (opponents' cumulative won-lost percentage of .638).

Ashland is fifth in the country in 3-point field-goal percentage defense at 27.8, and tied for 11th in the country in scoring defense at 64.9 points per game.


GLIAC Rankings

Through Jan. 11, Ashland leads the conference in scoring defense and 3-point field-goal percentage defense, ranks third in field-goal percentage (47.4) and 3-point field-goal percentage (37.2) and is tied for third in field-goal percentage defense (41.2).

Davis ranks fourth in the GLIAC in scoring (20.5 ppg.) and leads the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (50.0), free throws made (78) and free throws attempted (95).

Senior center Michael Hundley is fifth in the conference in blocks per game at 1.4.


Eagle Nuggets

- Ashland has outscored its opponents in 12 of 14 second halves in 2015-16.

- Freshman guard Nick Bapst is first in the GLIAC among non-starters in 3-point field-goal percentage at 44.9.

- The Eagles are turning the ball over just 12.4 times per game in conference play.