Eagle Men Return Home To Take On Lake Erie

Eagle Men Return Home To Take On Lake Erie


Opening Tip

After a rough end to a stretch of five games in nine days, Ashland University's men's basketball team will look to solidify its Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament position at Kates Gymnasium on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. against Lake Erie.

The Eagles are 14-8 overall and 9-7 in the GLIAC as they get set to play host to the Storm (4-20, 3-13). Ashland lost each of its last two games, both on the road, to Ohio Dominican (80-78) and Hillsdale (80-55).

With four regular-season games to play, Ashland is 2 1/2 games behind first-place Findlay in the GLIAC South Division, and one game ahead of the Panthers in second place. In the overall conference standings, the Eagles are one game behind Lake Superior State for the fourth and final home-game spot in the GLIAC Tournament quarterfinals.

Ashland comes into this week's game on a four-game home winning streak, and having gone 33-9 (.786) at "The Kates" since the start of the 2014-15 season.


Eagles On The Air

- This week's game will be aired live on WNCO-AM 1340, with Marty Bannister on the call.

- This week's game will be aired live on WRDL-FM 88.9.

- All GLIAC home regular-season games will be aired on tape delay on SportsTime Ohio.

- Head coach John Ellenwood appears on "The Early Bird's Word" on WRDL every Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. during the season.


Looking Back, Looking Ahead

There are two ways to look at Ashland's recent stretch of five games in nine days – as the Eagles having gone 3-2 in that group of games, or that it ended with a two-game losing streak.

Ashland had a 72-69 lead at Ohio Dominican with 2:12 left to play before the Panthers' late rally. The 55 points scored at Hillsdale were the Eagles' fewest of 2016-17.

"It was the end of a long stretch of games," Ellenwood said. "Our guys, on Thursday, competed hard and didn't end up with the victory. It was a tough road game. Saturday, we didn't have our legs and we weren't very sharp that day, and caught up with a very motivated Hillsdale team.

"We've got to regroup this week, and get back on track. Good thing is we have three home games out of our next four."

Ashland will play Lake Erie, then have a rare Saturday off due to the hole created by Malone leaving the GLIAC.

"We need that, just getting healthy," said Ellenwood. "The tough thing about last week, we had a lot of guys that were sick. It just seemed like it was a new guy every day. We need that break right now. Just coming down the home stretch, not having a game on Saturday will help our guys out. That's good timing for us coming down the stretch."

As for the Storm, while their overall record is 4-20, they were 0-9 to start the season, and each of their last six defeats have been by 3, 2, 2, 1, 4 and 8 points.

Lake Erie has two double-digit scorers on the season - senior guard Sean Howard (15.5 ppg.) and freshman guard Gabe Kynard (10.6 ppg.).

The Storm is third in the GLIAC in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (33.1), but last in overall field-goal percentage defense (50.1).

In the first meeting of the season in Painesville, Ohio, Ashland won 76-74. In the all-time series, the Eagles have the advantage, 22-3.

"We only won up there by two points the last time," Ellenwood said. "They have 10 scholarship players. They're going to be very good. We know that if we slip up, that's a big deal.

"To overlook a team in this conference would be foolish."


Cook Headed Toward History

Senior guard Boo Osborne became the 25th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points earlier this season.

Another senior guard, Adrian Cook, is attempting to become the 26th, and is getting closer by the game.

Cook comes into the week with 955 career points, giving him four regular-season games and potential games thereafter to reach to the milestone.

"Adrian's playing for a lot right now," Ellenwood said. "I think our guys are going to try to help him get there. That's the best thing about our team is there's great teammates there, and they want Adrian to do great things.

"I know he wants that to join Boo and Wendell (Davis), his two best friends on this team, in achieving that. That would be a heck of a class if those three guys end up with 1,000 points."


Spreading The Wealth Offensively

Without injured senior forward Wendell Davis for the season, the Eagles have emphasized balanced offense and more passing. In the first 22 games of 2016-17, eight of Ashland's regulars are averaging at least 5.7 points per game, with three going for double figures per contest.

A breakdown of Ashland's double-digit scoring games this season follows:




Adrian Cook


Boo Osborne


Ben Haraway


Marsalis Hamilton


Teddy Metzen


Phil Frentsos


Nick Bapst


Drew Noble


Torin Wetzel



Ashland is averaging 14.8 assists per game, 2.6 per game more than a season ago, and good for a tie for fifth in the GLIAC. The Eagles have recorded at least 15 helpers in a game 11 times this season.


The Charity Stripe Has Been Much Kinder

The Eagles have been a better free-throw shooting team in the last 14 games, in contract to the first eight:






First 8 games




Last 14 games





Included in that hot stretch was a 14-for-14 effort at home against Northern Michigan on Jan. 7. In two games against the Chargers this season, Ashland hit 27-of-29 attempts from the charity stripe.

The Eagles' 74.7 free-throw percentage for the season is decidedly better than the 70.0 percent in all of 2015-16.

Cook leads the way with an 88.9-percent showing for the season, followed by Noble at 84.8.


The Difference In Defense

Coming into the week, Ashland is ranked third in the GLIAC in scoring defense per game (69.9), sixth in field-goal percentage defense (43.9) and eighth in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (34.8).

When the important team defensive statistics are broken down by wins and losses this season, the gap is telling:





Scoring defense per game



Field-goal percentage defense



3-point field-goal percentage defense




"A lot of that has to do with legs," said Ellenwood. "If your legs are there, your guys are going to be fresh and have the energy to play defense. It's just tough. You've got to find a way to mentally get through it. Defensively, we know that's not who we are.

"Having one game this week, we will be more alert this week."


Ellenwood Cements Place In AU History

Now in his eighth season, Ellenwood resides among the most successful head coaches in Ashland men's basketball history:




Roger Lyons


Bill Musselman


John Ellenwood





Roger Lyons


John Ellenwood


Bill Musselman





Roger Lyons


John Ellenwood


George Donges


The Notebook

- Ashland's recently-completed seven-game winning streak is the Eagles' third win streak of at least seven games in the last two seasons (12- and 8-game streaks in 2015-16).

- If Cook reaches 1,000 points, he and Osborne would join three other pairs of Eagles whose careers ended the same season as 1,000-point teammates - Nate Vaughn (1,195) and Lamont Scott (1,094), 1999; Isaac Kincaid (1,524) and Angelo Edwards (1,240), 2002 and Greg Emmons (1,438) and Vahn Knight (1,355), 2007.

- Ashland comes into the week tied for first with Michigan Tech in the GLIAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (39.8), second in the conference in overall field-goal percentage (49.1) and tied for third in the league in free-throw percentage (74.7).