With their early undefeated record on the line, the Niagara Knights men's basketball program (2-1, 4th OCAA West) took on the Humber Hawks (3-0, 1st OCAA West) in the annual Blue and White game on Thursday night.
The first quarter lived up to the hype that was expected to come from this game, as both teams traded baskets, with the Knights taking the 26-25 first quarter lead. The second quarter was close one again, as Niagara outscored Humber 23-20, and went into the break with a 49-45 half-time lead.
The Hawks made some important half-time adjustments however, and they proved why they were ranked #3 in the OCAA, outscoring the Knights in both the third and fourth quarters, clawing back, and earning the 94-81 victory over the Knights.
The Knights allowed the Hawks to climb back into the game due in part to a cold shooting performance in the second half. After shooting 48.7% (19-39) from the field in the first half, the Knights managed to shoot just 32.4% (12-37) for the remainder of the contest. Humber was on fire in the second half, shooting 56.6% (17-30), including 63.6% (7-11) from downtown.
Overall, it was a thrilling contest between two of the OCAA's top teams. The Knights, who were ranked 5th coming into the match, will have to wait all the way until February 7th to get their revenge on the Hawks.
Van Hutchinson Jr. (Nassau, Bahamas) led the way for the Knights, scoring 23 points and adding 12 rebounds. Complimenting Hutchinson Jr's play was Johnnie Richardson (Niagara Falls) who scored 10 points, and Keveshan Padachey (Markham) who added in 12 points off the bench.
"Tonight was a great game between two very good teams," said Knights head coach Phil Mosley. "We played well in the first half and we need to find a way to be consistent in the second half as well. We will continue to work to get better every game."
The Knights will have a break Friday before returning to action on the road against the Mohawk Mountaineers (1-2, 7th OCAA West) on Saturday. So far, the Mountaineers have taken down the UTM Eagles (0-2, 9th OCAA West) and have been defeated in back-to-back contests, the first coming against the Hawks and the second coming against the Fanshawe Falcons (3-1, 3rd OCAA West).
The Niagara Knights take on the Mohawk Mountaineers this upcoming Saturday, November 3rd at Mohawk College. The game is set to begin at 8pm. Niagara will return home on November 8th to welcome the UTM Eagles to the Welland Campus Athletic Centre.