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RECAP: Men's Basketball finish 4th at OCAA Championship

RECAP: Men's Basketball finish 4th at OCAA Championship

March 2-4th saw the Niagara College men's basketball program travel to Toronto for the 2017 OCAA Championship being hosted by Centennial College. The Knights finished the three day event in fourth place after losing in the bronze medal game 82-79 to the Humber Hawks.

The Knights opened the championship with a hard fought 70-66 overtime victory against the host Colts. The game proved costly for the Knights however, as recently named OCAA first team all-star Van Hutchinson Jr. was lost for the duration of the tournament with an ankle injury. Hutchinson Jr. scored 23 points in the contest before leaving with the injury, and was named the Knights player of the game for his performance.

Without their leading scoring, the Knights were faced with the unenviable task of facing the CCAA's No. 6 ranked George Brown Huskies in the semi-finals.

The Huskies simply proved too much for the shorthanded Knights. Niagara trailed 39-38 at the half, but opened the third quarter red hot, pulling out to a 46-41 lead. Niagara faded as the game worn on, the turning point being a 19-5 run to close the third quarter. The deficit proved too much for the team to overcome as the Knights would go on to lose the game 85-74.

Lequan Hylton (Mississauga), a recently named 2017 OCAA second team all-star, led all scorers with 23 points and was named the Knights' player of the game.

The loss relegated the Knights to the bronze medal game where they faced the Humber Hawks.  The dramatic affair saw the two teams trade early leads. Niagara eventually carried a 41-39 lead into halftime.

The Knights however struggled in early stages of the fourth quarter falling behind 75-60 midway through the final frame. The team went on a frantic 19-7 run to close the game, trailing by just three points with 9.9 seconds remaining. The Knights had a chance to tie the game but were unable to convert, giving the Hawks the three point win.

Welland native Alex Elliott led the Knights with 15 points, while Jordan Wilson (Nassau, Bahamas) was named Niagara's player of the game finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Despite missing out on the podium the Niagara College men's basketball program enjoyed a resurgent 2016-17 season. The team finished in second place in the OCAA West Division with a record of 13-3. The Knights were also ranked No. 4 in the CCAA national rankings for the majority of the second half of the season.