Cousins Haraway, Thomas shine hours apart

Mark Hazelwood • Jan 27, 2019 at 3:51 PM

It almost felt scripted, even if it was anything but.

Jeff Thomas, a 2014 Norwalk graduate, scored the first basket of the game for the Georgia State University men’s basketball shortly after 1 p.m. The layup gave Thomas exactly 1,000 points for his career with the Division I Panthers.

The redshirt senior finished with a career-high 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-6 from the three-point line.

Then, just two hours and 21 minutes after the Panthers (15-6) posted a 77-71 win over UT-Arlington, his cousin, Ben Haraway took center stage.

A redshirt senior for Ashland University — the No. 7-ranked team in NCAA Division II — Haraway had the ball in his hands and the clock under 10 seconds in a 61-61 game at Wayne State University in Detroit.

After taking the inbounds pass near the top of the key, Haraway drove to his left, spun around, then took a step back from just inside the three-point line on the left wing. The shot went in with just 1.3 seconds left, giving the Eagles (18-1) a 63-61 road win.

Haraway (Norwalk 2014) finished with a team-high 17 points and five assists in the win.

“I’m just glad that we are both having success as our college careers are coming to an end,” Haraway said of himself and Thomas. “It’s great to see all those years of hard work paying off for the both of us.”

Thomas is averaging 12.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game for the Panthers in 21 starts. GSU won the Sun Belt Conference tournament a year ago and fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Cincinnati.

At his current pace, Thomas will likely finish in the top 15 all-time in points at Georgia State, and potentially as high as 12th. He is the 21st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone and currently 18th in career points.

“I think this is something later on in life that I will be more appreciative of,” Thomas said. “Being a 1,000-point scorer in high school and college is something not a lot of people can do — and both Ben and I will be able to say that.

“I’m just grateful we had the chance to do it,” he added.

The Panthers are back in action on Saturday at home vs. Georgia Southern.

Meanwhile, Haraway is averaging 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 19 starts for Ashland. He is looking to become the 27th player to score 1,000 points at AU next month.

Haraway sits at 948 points in his nearly three-year career for the Eagles. As a true freshman in 2014-15, he scored 379 points and was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year while playing at Malone University. He then sat out the 2015-16 season as a transfer.

Ashland is scheduled to host a pair of games this week on Thursday vs. Davenport and on Saturday against Grand Valley State.

At Norwalk, Thomas is the only All-Ohio first team selection in program history. His 1,352 points are second all-time, while his 561 points in a single-season (2013-14) are the most ever.

Haraway scored 1,184 points (fourth all-time), while his 551 points in 2013-14 are second-most in a season behind Thomas. He is also the all-time assists leader (507) at Norwalk and scored the most points by a Trucker player in the tournament (256 in 16 games).

After scoring 49 points in two games, including a Div. II state championship record 15 free throws in the state title game win vs. Columbus Watterson, Haraway was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 state tournament.

Norwalk Reflector Videos