Friday, December 8th saw the Niagara Knights men's basketball program improve to 6-3 on the season with a hard fought 102-97 victory over the Humber Hawks (8-3). Van Hutchinson Jr. led all scorers with a game high 36 points, while also adding 12 rebounds.
"We shot the ball well from the floor, shooting 60% and had a great rebounding game with 56 rebounds which ended up being the difference in the game tonight" said Knights' head coach Mike Hurley.
The matchup between two of the top teams in the OCAA lived up to the hype as the back-and-forth affair saw a total of 13 lead changes. The Knights used their dynamic rebounding game to their full advantage, notching a total of 76 points in the paint, while out rebounding their Toronto based opponents 56-21.
The Knights trailed 52-49 at halftime, but found their scoring touch in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawks 27-15 in the frame, and stretching their lead to as many as 13.
Humber managed to press the issue throughout the fourth quarter closing the gap to just one point with 1:18 left, but a quick highlight reel dunk by Hutchinson Jr. rallied the Knights and helped lift the team to the hard fought victory.
"As much as it was nice to beat an always tough Humber team, we didn't play to the best of our abilities as we need play better team defence and on offence have a better assist to turnover ratio. We also need to improve our foul shooting" added Hurley.
Joining Hutchinson Jr. atop the Knights scoring leaders were veteran forwards Jordan Wilson and Jordon McDonald. McDonald shot 12 of 15 from the field and finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Wilson notched 23 points and a game high 13 rebounds.
The win moves the Knights to 6-3 on the season. The team sits in fourth place in the OCAA West Division with two fewer games played than many of their division rivals. Niagara will wrap up the first half of their season on December 13th when the team hosts the red hot Fanshawe Falcons (6-4) at 8:00pm at the Welland athletic centre.