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Ashwill pushes Cougars past Taylor

The MVNU men’s basketball team (18-8, 7-7) added a win and a loss last week, falling to Spring Arbor University and beating Taylor University.

In the Cougars’ 69-68 loss against Spring Arbor, senior Deontae Cole scored a career-high 20 points for MVNU.

Senior Josh Ashwill sank two free throws to pull MVNU within two points with :14 left on the clock. The Cougars then fouled Spring Arbor’s Drew Zuidema to stop the clock. Zuidema made one of his two free throws, and the Cougars got the ball back when Cole secured the rebound.

Ashwill drew a foul and made both of his free throws, pulling MVNU within one with only :06 left in the game.

MVNU again fouled Zuidema, who missed the front end of his one-and-one. Freshman Trey McBride grabbed the defensive rebound for MVNU. The Cougars, down 69-68 with :04 remaining had the chance for a game-winning shot.

However, Spring Arbor senior guard Caleb Hogans forced a game-sealing turnover and time ran out.

The Cougars rebounded from the loss with a 62-53 victory over No. 16 Taylor University on Saturday, led by Ashwill’s career-high 27 points.

After his career performance against Taylor, Ashwill was awarded Crossroads League Player of the Week honors. Last week, Ashwill averaged 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and five assists against Spring Arbor and Taylor.

Ashwill leads the Cougars with team highs in rebounds, assists, and blocks. He records 7.2 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game, and has 19 total blocks. His 13.4 points per game is .4 points short of sophomore Brett Vipperman's team-high 13.8.

Ashwill recorded his 1,000 career point on Jan. 25 against Grace College.

Ashwill said he was “incredibly proud” of the Cougars’ defensive effort against Taylor. MVNU held the top-20 team to just 26 percent shooting for the night.

Head Coach Jared Ronai also said he was “proud of our defensive effort.”

“We needed that defensive focus,” Ronai said. But, “Taylor guarded well and fought their way back into the game.”

Junior Joey Schmitz scored 13 points during the game and was four of six from the three-point line.

The Cougars will face Goshen College tonight at 7 p.m. In their last meeting, MVNU pulled out an 83-69 victory at Goshen.

Goshen enters Tuesday night’s contest on a five-game skid.

Schmitz enters tonight’s matchup ranked second in the nation in three-point percentage (52 percent). Ashwill sits at 15 for Division II total assists with 129.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast on WNZR.TV and 90.9 FM WNZR.

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