The Niagara Knights men's basketball program (7-3, 3rd OCAA West) will look to bounce back from a loss when they take on the Sheridan Bruins at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre on Thursday night. Both programs will look to finish off the first half of the regular season on a positive note before an extended break.
The Sheridan Bruins have been soaring offensively so far this season, averaging 107.9 points per game, the only team to average over 100 points per game at this point in all of the OCAA. Their offensive attack has led them nicely to an 8-2 record where they sit just ahead of the Knights as the OCAA West's second-place team. The Bruins are being led by fourth-year guard Nick Campbell who is averaging 22.3 points per game.
In their 44-game history against one another, dating back to 1978, the Knights are just 8-36 against the Bruins. At home, however, they are much more successful, as seven of their eight wins have been at Niagara College. The Knights will look to defeat the Bruins for the first time since February 20th, 2015 when the Knights won 99-76 at home.
This matchup will be a shootout between the OCAA's top two offences. As mentioned, the Bruins have the OCAA's top offence as they average 107.9 points per game, but the Knights are right behind them scoring an average of 99.0 points per game which ranks second in the province.
If the Knights finish off the first-half of the season with a win, they will head into the break with an 8-3 record. The last time the Knights won eight games before the mid-season break was back in 2008-09, a year where the team went on to win an OCAA Bronze Medal.
Despite being the second-best offensive team in the country based on points per game, the Knights rank last in the OCAA with a 56.7% free-throw percentage. A second half improvement from the free throw line could cement them as the league's best offense. The Knights have been doing an excellent job of getting to the line, as they have taken the sixth most free-throws in the OCAA (234), they just need to convert to boost their offensive attack.
The Knights and the Bruins will battle it out at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre on Thursday night at 8pm. The game will mark the Knights final game until the extended break, as they won't return to the court until Friday, January 11th at Redeemer. As always, the game will be broadcast live and can be watched online here.