The Ashland Eagles bench was just too much for the Northern Michigan University Wildcats, defeating the home team 65-52.
“We just trying to execute what coach was preaching this week, but we just came up a little short and didn’t make enough plays during the game,” said NMU guard Terry Nash.
Three of Ashland’s top four scorers came from off the bench. Forward Jett Speelman led the way with 15 points while Cole Krizancic and Marsalis Hamilton added 11 each. The three combined for 14-25 from the field and scored seven of the Eagles’ nine three pointers.
“We’re pretty deep,” said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood. “We can get the production from our tenth or eleventh guy as much as our second.”
Eagles’ star forward Wendell Davis started the game and had 12 points and seven rebounds. Three of Ashland’s starters combined for just five points.
NMU head coach Bill Sall said that offensively the team never got into a rhythm.
“We just didnt get much in flow,” he said. “We’re not doing a very good job right now of not only moving the ball but getting it where it has to go with crispness and action.”
The long ball was a strong facet of their game as the Eagles shot almost 50 percent, going 9 of 21 from beyond the arc. Ashland also won the rebound battle 38-22.
“The 50-50 balls — the times where you can actually find the basketball and it’s between you and another guy,” Sall said. “There had to be at least ten of those and I don’t know if we came up with one of them. Those are the types of scenarios that we have to be better in and we have to get to them.
After a tight first half with 10 lead changes, Steilman hit back-to-back three pointers — one of them counting for a four-point play – with seven minutes to go. Additional shots from behind the arc ran up the score late in the game.
NMU had a strong performance from forward Chavis Mattison. Mattison led the Wildcats with 12 points and six rebounds. Nash had six assists and nine points in the loss.
It was the fourth loss in a row for the Wildcats who haven’t won since Dec. 13 against Findlay. But according to Ellenwood, Northern Michigan is turning heads around the GLIAC.
“Watching game film from last year to this year, (NMU) is a much better program,” he said. “They have some quality wins this year.”
Northern is now in a four-game streak of home games, as they will host the Lake Erie Storm on Sat. Jan 10 at the Berry Events Center.
“We got to go into that game focused and ready to play hard. We got to do the little things … and play Wildcat basketball,” Nash said. “We know the formula to win and I believe we can get a win on Saturday.”