Big Rapids, Mich. - A late first half run enabled Ashland University to seize control and the Eagles went on to a 74-52 victory over Ferris State in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener for both schools on Friday afternoon at Kates Gymnasium in Ashland, Ohio.
The host Eagles took a 38-24 halftime lead and pushed the margin to 19 points early in the second half before the Bulldogs went on a run of their own to cut the advantage back to single digits. However, AU responded with a pair of timely three's and hit key free throws down the stretch to pull away for the win.
The two teams will battle again on Saturday (Jan. 9) in the series' finale with tipoff set for 1 p.m. (ET) in Ohio.
Senior guard Walt Kelser drew significant attention, coming off a 38-point showing in his most previous outing, but still led the way for the Bulldogs with a team-high 16 points. He was joined in double-figures by senior forward Michael Peterson, who notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Ashland had four players score in double figures and was led by freshman guard Hunter Shedenhelm's team-best 16 points. Ethan Conley added 15 points off the bench while Brandon Haraway totaled 11 points and Bo Furcron notched 10 points.
The Eagles held FSU to 39% shooting for the game, including only five-of-21 (23.8%) from beyond the three-point arc. FSU also had only five free throw attempts, finishing three-of-five (60%) at the charity stripe.
Ashland shot at a 51% clip and connected on nine-of-22 (40.9%) three's and 11-of-19 (57.9%) free throws.
Overall, the Eagles outrebounded FSU slightly 35-32 and also forced 16 turnovers in comparison to only 10 of their own.
With the win, Ashland improved to 1-1 overall this year while the Bulldogs fell to 1-3 on the season.
Saturday's game will be carried live by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network with pregame coverage starting at 12:30 p.m. (ET). Complete game co coverage links are available online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.