The Mohawk Mountaineers rallied from a 10-point, first half deficit and knocked the Fanshawe Falcons from the ranks of the undefeated with a 71-64 decision in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball at the Fennell Gymnasium on Tuesday (Jan. 19).
Fanshawe, which entered the game with a perfect 9-0 record and ranked number one in Ontario and number five in Canada, maintained a seven-point lead for a good part of the first half before taking a 38-28 margin to the locker room. But the Mountaineers came out tenaciously in the second half and battled their way to a thrilling victory, improving their record to 6-5.
Nick Fadayel, a product of Hamilton St. Mary’s High School and who played college ball previously at Niagara, led Mohawk with 24 points and eight rebounds.
With the score tied 54-54, Fadayel drew consecutive three shot fouls and made all six shots to propel the Mountaineers into a lead they would never relinquish. Fadayel was 12-for-14 from the free throw line for the game. Jerome Smith scored 14 points for Mohawk and Ricky Heath collected 12.
Andy Campbell led Fanshawe with 20 points.
“We’ve been practicing well,” said Mountaineers’ head coach Brian Jonker. “And with the addition of Jerome and Nick we could see it coming. We believed we could win today. We did a great job on the boards in the second half and offensively we finally moved the ball a little bit. There was no ball movement whatsoever in the first half, but in the second half we moved the ball and got some better shots.”
Jonker doesn’t expect the big victory to go to the players’ heads as the team has bigger goals. They want to keep it rolling and see whether they can get a home playoff game.
And keeping the winning spirit alive was some off-court activities.
The Mohawk Students’ Athletic Committee and the college’s Athletic Department are donating all proceeds from the game and from tonight’s (Wednesday) volleyball game to the relief efforts in Haiti. The Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) will match 200% of money collected to the cause.
The ‘HOPE FOR HAITI’ campaign has been initiated by the MSA, which will direct the funds to the Red Cross.
On Wednesday night, the Mountaineers host Humber in volleyball action, with the women on the floor at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m.