The Niagara Knights men's basketball program improved to 3-0 (2nd, OCAA West) on the season after defeating the Fanshawe Falcons (1-2, 7th OCAA West) in dramatic fashion Thursday night 61-60. In a game that saw multiple lead changes in the final minute of the game, it was the Knights' leadership that helped the program leave London with a hard fought victory.
Both Fanshawe and Niagara flew out of the gate in the first, trading their own blows in front of an excited hometown crowd. It was an impressive 11-0 run in the second quarter led by 3rd year guard Van Hutchinson Jr (Nassau, Bahamas) that jolted the Knights to a 33-26 lead heading into halftime.
During the second half, both programs went right back to a dog fight trading small leads back-and-forth. The Knights gave a strong defensive effort throughout the entirety of the game giving themselves a chance to win at the end. With about 30 seconds left in the final quarter, the Knights were down by two and found themselves in a scrambled play that resulted in 2nd year forward Jordon McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) knocking down a 3 pointer to go up one.
Fanshawe called a time out to advance the ball up the floor, and Fanshawe's 4th year guard Chris Parker (Toledo, OH) made a tough turnaround jumper with 7.5 seconds left on the clock. The Knights immediately called a timeout to advance the ball up the floor and ran a play to get the ball in Van Hutchinson Jr. or Levi Mukuna's (Hamilton, Ont.) hands. Fanshawe's defense broke down, which resulted in Mukuna being open for a three pointer. Fanshawe tried to recover, but ended up fouling Mukuna, who to the line and calmly drained two of three foul shots. The Knights were forced back into their end of the court, where they played a great last possession of defense and forced Fanshawe to take a tough shot which missed.
Offensively, the Knights were paced by veteran guards Levi Mukuna and Van Hutchinson Jr. Mukuna led the Knights with a game high 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Hutchinson Jr. finished with his second double–double of the season (16 point, 10 rebounds).
The Knights will look to improve to 4-0 when they travel back to the Welland Campus Athletic Centre Sunday, November 5th to face off against the St. Clair Saints. Tip-off is scheduled for 2pm.