Eagle men down Chargers for third time in route to championship apperance

The AU men’s basketball team downed Hillsdale, 76-69, to clinch a spot in the GMAC championship


AU Athletics

Guard Brandon Haraway runs out for the beginning of a contest for the Eagles.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

The Ashland University men’s basketball team got the job done Friday night as they took on the Hillsdale College Chargers in the semi-final round of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) postseason tournament.

The Eagles and Chargers, who took on one another for the third time this season, battled back and forth until the Eagles separated themselves down the stretch to pull off the 76-69 victory.

In the first half, the impressive play from freshman Simon Wheeler continued. Through the first 23 points scored in the game, Wheeler had nine for the Eagles to help them lead 13-10. With impressive play from Wheeler, the Chargers had their own bright spots as both teams exchanged seven leads. The game was also tied five times.

The Eagles finished the first half shooting over 50% from the field and beyond the arc. The Chargers also shot consistent numbers as they were 41% from the field and 37% from three-point range, but led 40-37.

In the second half, both teams knew that their seasons were on the line as they left everything out on the court in Alumni Hall.

It was a back-and-forth contest up until the eight-minute mark when Ashland was able to separate itself from Hillsdale. A chain of events would occur that granted momentum for the Eagles; guard Brandon Haraway hit a three-pointer, followed by two free throws from the senior before forward Maceo Williams took down the ceiling with a monstrous slam dunk. After the barrage of scoring that was set off by the Eagles, freshman guard Derrick James wanted in on the fun as he drilled a three-pointer to keep the Eagles ahead with the lead sitting at 69-60.

Down the stretch of the contest, the Chargers had key three-pointers from guard Kyle Goessler and forward Jack Gholke who brought the contest within three points with under 30 seconds to play.

Fortunately for the Eagles, but unfortunately for the Chargers, Haraway would continue to be consistent from the free throw line as he closed out the contest, giving the win to the Eagles.

Haraway finished the game with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, while his counterpart Wheeler added 0n 21 points of his own. The Eagles finished the game shooting 50% from the field and just under 50% from the three-point line.

The win improves the Eagles’ record to 21-9 on the season.

They now look to take on the Malone Pioneers in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, March 4, at 4 p.m. in Alumni Hall.