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Eagles finish road trip with close victory over Northern Michigan

Steven Shrenkel

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The Ashland University men’s basketball team finished their road trip and extended their winning streak to seven with a close 55-54 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles improved their record to 12-3 overall while being 5-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Wildcats fell to 9-5 overall and had their first GLIAC loss of the season to drop them to 6-1 in the conference.

AU sophomore center Drew Noble started the game on fire as he scored the game’s first eight points with two 3-pointers and a layup.

The Eagles continued to display their defensive dominance that has been seen in so many previous games before. Ashland did not allow the Wildcats to score a basket until four minutes into the first half.

Northern Michigan responded with a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to tie the game. Ashland then had another run of their own as senior forward Wendell Davis capped the 12-1 surge with a 3-pointer to take a 28-15 lead with four minutes left before halftime.

The Eagles would go and finish the first half with a 30-23 advantage.

The Wildcats started off the second half on fire, scoring the first nine points. This was before Davis stopped the run with a triple and let AU hold onto a 33-32 lead.

Northern Michigan finally got their first lead of the game with 15:11 left to go in the second half with the score being 34-33. The Wildcats continued to increase their lead until Davis scored the Eagles next nine points to shorten the deficit 43-42 with six minutes left to go in the game.

AU finally took the lead back on a driving layup from senior forward Marsalis Hamilton with 2:43 remaining in the second half. Ashland’s lead was stretched to three when Noble tipped in a missed jumper.

The Eagles turned up the defensive pressure to get a stop with Noble getting fouled on the ensuing rebound to make the game 51-46.

The Wildcats responded back with two quick 2-point baskets to bring them within one point of AU. Davis was fouled in the Eagles next possession and he sank both free throws to increase their lead 53-50.

Ashland then intentionally fouled Northern Michigan. Noble got a crucial rebound off of the second free throw miss and then was fouled. He iced the game with two clutch free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining in the game.

The Wildcats sank a triple as time expired but the Eagles won the game 55-54.

Ashland dominated the Wildcats on defense as they held Northern Michigan to just 39.6 percent shooting from the floor while also just 21.4 percent from downtown. The Eagles also scored 11 points off of turnovers.

AU finished the game shooting 33.3 percent from the field while going 26.9 percent from deep.

Noble finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Davis recorded his second straight double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Hamilton also chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

The Eagles will return to Kates Gymnasium on Thursday (Jan. 11) at 7:30 p.m. to take on the Grand Valley State Lakers (8-7, 3-4 GLIAC). Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

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