The Niagara Knights men's basketball program split their weekend road trip 1-1 with a victory over the Lambton Lions (11-7, 5th OCAA West) and a loss to the St. Clair Saints (7-10, 8th OCAA West). The results from the weekend put the Knights at 11-7 on the season, slotting them at 4th spot in the OCAA West Division.
In Saturday's victory over Lambton, both programs kept the game close with no team winning a quarter by more than 4 points. With a total of 17 lead changes throughout the game, both programs were determined to leave the court with a victory.
The score was close throughout the game, leading to a dramatic finish in the final seconds of the fourth. After Branden Padgett's 2 made free throws put the Lions up 79-78, Knights' fourth year guard Levi Mukuna (Hamilton, Ont.) silenced the hometown crowd with a dramatic 3 point buzzer beater for the 81-79 victory.
"The boys played as a team and stayed together by working hard when they where on the floor," said Knights head coach Mike Hurley. "Most importantly, they shared the basketball by making the extra pass setting their teammates up for better shots."
The win was crucial for the Knights' positioning in the OCAA West Division standings, as a loss would put them behind Lambton for 5th spot in the OCAA West Division.
Pacing the Knights offensively was 4th year guard Levi Mukuna, who finished with 30 points and 8 rebounds. Knights' 3rd year forward Jordan Wilson (Nassau, Bahamas) was also impressive for the Knights, accumulating 14 of his 21 total points in the second half of the game.
The Knights would then travel to Windsor to take on the St. Clair Saints. The Saints were desperate for a victory, as they were entering Sunday's affair battling for their playoff lives. With their backs against the wall, the Saints were determined to leave the court with nothing but a victory.
Both programs kept themselves close heading into the final seconds of the game, but a last second Saints' bucket solidified the Windsor program's 88-86 victory.
"We came out sluggish today," said head coach Mike Hurley. "We just didn't play hard enough for a game of this importance and the result was a disappointing loss."
Pacing the Knights' offense once again was 4th year guard Levi Mukuna, finishing with a game-high 26 points and 8 rebounds.
The Knights are back in action next weekend when they host the Sault Cougars (0-18, 11th OCAA West) in back-to-back home games to close out the 2017-18 regular season. The Knights are in desperate need of two victories if they hope to position well in the OCAA West Division standings.