Eagle men’s basketball falls, 87-80, against Malone Pioneers

The Eagles rallied down 21 points, but were unable to pull off the win


AU Athletics

Ashland University’s men’s basketball team secured a birth in the conference tournament.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

Ashland University’s men’s basketball team has just one game left in the regular season before the Great Midwest Athletic Conference postseason tournament hits.

In the team’s final home game of the regular season, the team fell to the Pioneers by seven points with Eagle guard Simon Wheeler contributing 21 points in the loss.

In the first half of play, the inconsistencies for the Eagles shined heavily, while the Pioneers piled on the points. Eagle guard Brandon Haraway attempted to keep the contest close, but a barrage of three-pointers unleashed by the opposing team would keep the Eagles far within reach of the lead.

The only lead the Eagles held in the first half came with the opening basket, outside of that the largest lead the Pioneers held was 17. Going into halftime, the Eagles shot just 38% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc, while the Pioneers unloaded a stellar offense shooting 62% from the field and from beyond the arc.

Head Coach of the Eagles John Ellenwood said at the halftime break that his team needed to remain calm and break the game down into four-minute quarters, and win each quarter.

Immediately out of the gates, the Eagles were unable to find their footing and it looked although the first-half performance would be repeated.

With 17:21 left in the contest, the Pioneers led by 21 points and that’s where the comeback would begin.

At the 13:29 mark, the Eagles had decreased that lead to 9 points, outscoring the Pioneers by 12 points within the span of four minutes. While Eagle guard Brandon Haraway was the main reason for the turnaround, forward Maceo Williams started dominating in the paint which instantly turned the game around for the Eagles.

As the game clock hit the 9:39 mark, the Eagles had tied the contest back up, with momentum brewing.

The two teams battled back and forth with either squad scoring a basket, but the Eagles could still not take a lead up until the 4:12 mark.

They would only keep that lead for 30 seconds before the Pioneers closed out the contest and secured the victory.

In the second half, the Pioneers shot just 36% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc, a drastic difference from the first half. The Eagles shot 48% from the field but still struggled from beyond the arc as they shot just 17%.

The Eagles were led by Wheeler and Williams who contributed 21 points, while Haraway added on 17.

They now look to take on the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. local time in the teams regular season finale.