Sixth-Seeded Eagle Men Launch Their Way To GLIAC Title Game

Sixth-Seeded Eagle Men Launch Their Way To GLIAC Title Game


THE TURNING POINT: The game was tied at 13 before Ashland scored 10 straight points to begin its pull-away.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Eagles' 21 3-point field goals are their most in a single game since at least the start of the 2000-01 season, and are a new GLIAC Tournament record.

On Saturday (March 4) night, Ashland University's men's basketball team accomplished a few things it hadn't done in quite some time – and one thing it's never done.

The No. 6-seeded Eagles have knocked off two favored teams en route to the 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game. The second of those two victories came on Saturday at Ferris State, as Ashland defeated No. 2-seed Findlay, 100-69.

"I think it was a great win for us against a great opponent," said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. "We played hard, and our guys earned a hard-fought victory. I'm very proud of them."

Ashland (19-9) will play the host and top-seeded Bulldogs (26-4) for the conference tournament championship on Sunday (March 5) at 3 p.m. The Eagles come into the game having won 12 of their last 15 games.

Saturday's win is Ashland's first all-time in five GLIAC Tournament semifinal appearances. The 100 points also are the Eagles' most in 18 games of GLIAC Tournament play, and the first time AU has hit the century mark in any game since Nov. 12, 2013 vs. Oberlin.

Ashland's 21 3-point field goals are the program's most since at least the start of the 2000-01 season, and establish a new GLIAC Tournament record.

"It's a great accomplishment," said Ellenwood. "Our guys, their hands were ready. Great shooters get great passes. We just have unselfish teammates, and it happened that way because of all of those things."

The Eagles also beat the Oilers twice in the same campaign for the first time since 1998-99.

The offense was a balanced effort, led by senior guard Adrian Cook's 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from the foul line, and sophomore guard Nick Bapst's 20 points on 6-of-6 from downtown.

Cook passed both Jack Purtell and Chris Royer to move into 23rd place on Ashland's all-time scoring list with 1,063 career points.

Five Eagles scored in double figures – Cook, Bapst, junior forward Marsalis Hamilton (16), senior guard Boo Osborne (14) and sophomore guard Ben Haraway (13). Osborne skipped past Lamont Scott into 21st place on AU's all-time scoring list with 1,096 career points.

Ashland shot 72.4 percent from 3-point range – nearly 10 full percent higher than its previous season-best of 62.5. The Eagles also dished out 26 assists, tying their season-best output.

"All season long, we've been preaching about sharing the basketball," Ellenwood said. "That's what we've been preaching since Day 1."

Overall, Ashland hit 66.7 percent from the floor, also the team's best in 2016-17, and kept the Oilers to 40 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from the arc. The Eagles also boasted a decided 37-23 rebounding advantage.

For Findlay, Elijah Kahlig led the way with 25 points, and Taren Sullivan added 17.

Saturday's game was tied at 13 with 14 minutes left until halftime, then the Eagles ran off 10 straight points. Leading 28-17, Ashland put together another run, this one 11 points in a row, and the rout was on.

Ashland is 9-6 in road/neutral-site games in 2016-17, and 20-9 in such games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

UP NEXT: Sunday's title game, then the 2017 NCAA Division II postseason selection show on Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on