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Malone Pioneers basketball preview


MBK PREVIEW: Malone vs. Ashland – GMAC Tournament Championship

How about this? Just a week ago on Feb. 25 the Malone men’s basketball team was playing for it’s Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) tournament life. Needing a win to guarantee them in the GMAC post-season championship against Northwood last Saturday the Pioneers took care of business with a whopping 95-63 shellacking of the Timberwolves. Then, the cards tilted in the Pioneers’ favor and they ended up with the fifth seed on the GMAC tournament.

Fast forward to this week’s conference tourney. The Pioneers won at #4 Tiffin 82-75 as the only lower seed in both the men’s or women’s GMAC tournament to win a first round game. This avenged an earlier season loss to the Dragons on the road by a score of 76-82.

Next up, the Pioneers just went ahead and beat the #1 seeded conference champion Walsh on their home floor 83-67. Quite the feat, since just a week prior they were sliding in the back door of the tournament. Malone and Walsh split a win each during the regular season, but when it counted most, the Pioneers sent Walsh packing albeit their home court.

Up next with an automatic NCAA Div. II Mid-West tournament bid on the line, the Pioneers will be slotted against the Ashland Eagles. Ashland is the #2 seed in the tournament and are coming off a 76-69 win over nationally ranked Hillsdale.

The Pioneers won both match-ups against the Eagles this season.

Let’s go ahead and preview this GMAC tournament championship game.

WHO: Malone vs Ashland – GMAC Tournament Championship
Saturday, March 4, 2023 – 4PM
Alumni Arena – Walsh University
anton, Ohio

Malone (18-10, 11-9)
Ashland (21-9, 15-5)




LAST GAME: Win over Hillsdale 76-69

LEADING SCORER: Brandon Haraway (SR. Norwalk, OH). The senior from Norwalk leads the Eagles in scoring putting up 16.9 a game overall and 16.4 in GMAC contests. Haraway has recorded nine straight double-doubles and his season high came against Hillsdale on Feb. 18 when he put up 31. He has exceeded the 30-point plateau twice this season.

WHO’S HOT: The Eagles got a hefty 22 points from freshman Simon Wheeler (FR. Detroit, MI) in the tournament win over Hillsdale on Thursday. He’s been hot of lately shooting 47% from the field in his last four games. The shifty guard from the 8-mile had a nice game against Malone the last time these two teams faced off as he went for 21. Wheeler’s season high can on Feb. 11 against Ohio Dominican when he lit it up for 26 points.

KEY STAT: You don’t have to look far on the team stat board to see why Ashland is in the GMAC final. The Eagles are first in both field goal percentage and field goal percentage against. The fact that their first in both really spells out why they are where they are. The Eagles are shooting .508 percent from the field while holding opponents to .404 shooting.




LAST GAME: Won vs Walsh – 83-67

LEADING SCORER: Justin Miller (SR. East Liverpool, OH). Miller is now the conference leading scorer coming into this game against Ashland averaging 19.7 points a game and scores 20.7 per GMAC meeting. On Jan. 16 Miller had his season high of 32 points against Ashland in a Pioneers win.

WHO’S HOT: Simon Blair (JR. Greenwich, OH). Blair went through a bit of a shooting slump towards the end of the regular season, but in his last four games has started to re-find that scoring magic. In his last four contests Blair is shooting 58% from the field, heating up at just the right time with a regional tournament bid on the line today.

KEY STAT: In their last four games, Malone has surpassed 80 points in all four contest. All wins. The late uptick of scoring has the Pioneers sitting at numero uno in the conference in points per game. Malone is now scoring 79.3 a game. Ashland sits in third in the scoring in the GMAC putting up 76.5 a game.


Since 2012 the Pioneers are 5-7 against Ashland, but Malone were winners in both contest this year. Malone won the first contest on Jan. 26 by just a bucket 80-78 and then on Feb. 23 won by seven points 87-80.