AU men’s basketball stuns Kentucky Wesleyan, 78-69

Forward Victor Searls drops in 24 points and hauls in nine rebounds


AU Athletics

The Eagles see forward Victor Searls continue to lead the charge for the 2022-2023 Eagles.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

The Ashland University men’s basketball improved their record to 5-4 overall on the season and 3-1 in conference play after downing the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers at home on Saturday.

The Eagles, who dominated the Panthers, pulled off a massive 78-69 win that consisted of stifling offensive efforts.

On Saturday, Dec. 17, the Eagles prepared for an important contest against the No. 3 Great Midwest Athletic Conference seeded Panthers.

The first half saw both squads battling back and fourth as with 3 minutes left in the first half the Eagles found themselves up by 13 points, 36-23.

In just the blink of an eye however, the Panthers would rally and tie the game up at 40 heading into halftime. The 17-4 run proved to be a dominating one by the Panthers, and they looked to build off of their success in the second half of play.

Coming out of halftime, the Eagles and Panthers went back and fourth with no team taking the edge. With 11 minutes half however, the Panthers built upon a run and took a nine point lead, 60-51.

The Eagles, led by forward Ethan Conley and center Victor Searls, hit back to back three points to close that gap quickly within two possessions.

After a timeout was called, the Eagles continued to roll with momentum as the Kates Gymnasium crowd lit up the arena.

In the last 11 minutes of play, the Eagles outscored the Panthers, 27-9, cementing their No. 2 position in the GMAC standings. With the loss the Panthers fell to 3-2 in conference play.

The Eagles finished the contest with a 48% field goal percentage and the consistent shooting efforts carried over into the three point numbers as they shot 42%.

They were led by Searls who recorded 24 points and nine rebounds, Conley who recorded 20 points and seven rebounds and guard Brandon Haraway who recorded 14 points and eight assists.

The newcomer duo of forward Maceo Williams and guard Simon Wheeler contributed 20 points combined while Wheeler also dished off eight assists.

With new found momentum and confidence under their belt, they now look to take on the Travecca Nazarene Trojans on Monday, Dec. 19, at Kates Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.