GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Panthers started off the game really cold from the field and paid the price for it. The Eagles of Ashland University built up a 22-point lead in the first half and held a double digit lead going into halftime. Davenport had a great second half, cutting the Eagles lead all the way down to two points with under five minutes to play. However, Ashland hit nine free throws down the stretch to secure the win. The Panthers outscored Ashland 36-33 in the second half.
Final Score: Davenport-60 | Ashland-72
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
POINTS PER HALF
First Half: DU-24 | AU-39
Second Half: DU-36 | AU-33
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Eagles jumped out to a double digit lead quickly, forcing Davenport to take a timeout just 4:35 into the contest. At that mark Ashland led 16-2 and the only points for Davenport came from layup by Delano Smith. The timeout didn't pan out as the Eagles extended their lead to 22 points with 9:32 on the clock in the first half. The Panthers had a solid end to the half, outscoring the Eagles 16-9 over the final nine minutes of play. During the nine-minute stretch Dyllon Hudson-Emory and Smith combined for 12 of the 16 points scored by Davenport. Heading into halftime the Panthers trailed by 15 points, but had some momentum on their side.
Ashland opened the half with back to back layups by Derek Koch to take a 19-point advantage. After those two buckets the Panthers clamped down on defense and played inspirational basketball over the next seven minutes. Following a jumper by Chaz Birchfield, with 12:38 left to go in the second half, the Panthers only trailed Ashland by five points (48-43). Davenport held Ashland to only five points during those seven minutes and scored 19 of their own, which means the Panthers outscored Ashland by 14-points during that period of time. One of the most exciting plays of the run was redshirt senior Khadim Dieng throwing down a thunderous alley-oop over an Ashland defender during the third minute of the half. The Eagles regained their composure and went a small run to bring their lead back up to double digits with exactly 10 left in regulation. The building was electric later in the half when the lead was cut down to a one possession game after Davenport scored eight unanswered points. The run was capped off with a three point make and then a euro step layup by junior Robbie Bramhill. Unfortunately, the Eagles were in the bonus and Davenport fouled a few too many times in the last five minutes, putting Ashland at the free throw line. The Eagles made nine free throws in the final four minutes of the game and they held onto their lead for the win.
Points: Smith (17)
Rebounds: Janeau Joubert (6)
Assists: Hudson (8)
Steals: Hudson-Emory/Joubert/Hudson (2)
Blocks: Dieng (3)
The Panthers get a break from GLIAC play for a couple weeks. Davenport will host Goshen College in a non-conference game on Wednesday, December 19. The next GLIAC contest for the Panthers will be on Thursday, January 3 when they host Lake Superior State.
Story by: Devin Steiner
Picture credit: Hannah Paddock