NORTH CANTON, OH. (WFIE) - In the first true road series of the season, the Kentucky Wesleyan College men’s basketball team took down Malone University on Saturday afternoon to split the weekend. Wyatt Battaile, plagued by foul trouble in the first half, scored 17 points in the second half and overtime to help lift the Panthers to a 81-73 victory over the Pioneers.
Malone had won four straight going into Saturday's contest and seven of their last eight. The Pioneers (9-6, 3-2 GMAC) fought back from a six-point deficit late in the second half to tie the game at 64 with 95 seconds left. Jo Griffin gave the Panthers (5-8, 4-2 GMAC) a 66-64 lead on the next possession while Mohamed Abu Arisha pulled-in the defensive rebound on the ensuing Pioneers' possession with 44 seconds left.
Abu Arisha was fouled on the rebound, but missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Pioneers hope. Daylan Haynie's dunk tied the game at 66-66 with 32 seconds left. The Panthers were blocked on their final chance to win the game in regulation while five more minutes went back on the clock.
Zach Hopewell gave the Panthers the lead with a short-range jumper to start overtime while Battaile buried a three-point basket on the next possession to give Wesleyan a 71-66 lead. A three-point play by Adam Goetz was countered by a three-point basket from Bo Myers on the Pioneers next trip down the floor.
The Panthers held a 74-70 lead with two minutes left in overtime when Battaile dropped another three-point basket, extending the Panthers lead to 77-70. The Pioneers were forced to march the Panthers to foul line in the final minute. Goetz and Hopewell combined to go four for four from the charity stripe to maintain the Panthers' comfortable three possession lead.
The game started with Wesleyan taking a 10-3 lead, but the half ended as it started in a tie (35-35). Battaile started the second half with a three-point play, but it was the Pioneers that took control. Through the first five minutes of the period, the Pioneers had outscored the Panthers 12-5, taking a 47-40 lead, their biggest of the game.
Two quick three-point buckets by Abu Arisha and Battaile sparked a 17-4 response for the Panthers. Abu Arisha ended the run with a lay-up that gave Wesleyan a 57-51 lead. The lead remained at six points, 64-58, with over four minutes.
Goetz finished with 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds. Battaile played all 25 minutes of the second half and overtime and added 17 points and six rebounds. Abu Arisha added 15 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
The Panthers will return to the historic Sportscenter on Thursday as Great Midwest play continues with Ohio Valley. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 PM.