Friday, October 20th saw the Niagara College men's basketball program open the 2017-18 season with an emphatic 70-60 home court victory over the Mohawk Mountaineers. After struggling in the early stages, the Knights found their rhythm and carried the lead through the majority of the contest.
"We started very slowly" said Knights head coach Mike Hurley, who was making his debut at the helm of the Niagara men's basketball program. "We had an extremely slow first quarter, and I thought we looked nervous. But we regrouped in the second half and came away with an important early season win."
The Knights were led offensively by Orangeville native Deysean Thompson. The athletic six-foot-five forward joined the Knights in September having previous spent two years with the Canadore Panthers. Thompson led all scorers in the contest with 18 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Thompson also added seven rebounds.
Also turning in a dynamic performance for the Knights was third year forward Jordon McDonald. McDonald shot 50% in the contest finishing with 13 points, but the Mississauga native's biggest contribution came on the glass, where he finished with a game high 15 rebounds.
"Our trio of Van (Hutchinson), Deysean, and Jordon really carried us tonight" added Hurley. "They are an experienced and veteran group that we are expecting big things from this season."
The Knights carried a halftime lead of 29-28, and at the end of the third quarter led 50-45. The team caught fire in the late stage of the final frame, securing the victory with a 10-2 run heading into the final two minutes of play.
The win gives the Knights two big points to open the 2017-18 season. Up next the team with travel to Mississauga on October 25th to take on the University of Toronto-Mississauga Eagles who are making their home court debut in the OCAA. Tip-off is set for 8:00pm. The Knights will return to the Welland Campus Athletic Centre on November 5th when they host the St. Clair Saints.