TRURO, N.S. – The Mohawk Mountaineers are looking to put an exclamation mark on their best men’s basketball season in 40 years.
The Mountaineers take on Canada’s top teams at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball National Championship beginning Thursday (March 15) at Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, B.C.
Mohawk enters the tournament on a seven-game win streak, including four sudden-death victories en route to its first Ontario Colleges Athletic Association title since 1972. The Mountaineers eliminated OCAA East regional champion Centennial and three-time defending gold medalist Humber to win the provincial banner.
The Mountaineers are led by CCAA All-Canadian Aminu Bello (Hamilton). The OCAA West region scoring champion averaged 24.4 points per game totaling 440 during the regular season. The fifth-year guard led the league in field goals shooting 159-of-322, and free throws shooting 84-of-99. Bello is also an OCAA West Division first-team all-star and an OCAA tournament all-star.
Bello played “Robin” to Manny Campbell’s “Batman” during the OCAA championship. Campbell (Burlington) was named tournament MVP, scoring 48 points and earning 15 assists while grabbing eight rebounds and completing six steals in three games. Prior to the tourney, the fourth-year guard was named an OCAA West region second-team all-star.
OCAA West coach of the year Brian Jonker saw his Mountaineers improve on their 2010-11 regular season record by two games, including wins over Humber, Sheridan and Fanshawe, all OCAA medalists the previous season. All but Sheridan repeated as medalists in 2011-12. Mohawk finished with a 13-5 regular season record, and has won 11 or more games in four of the past five seasons.
Mohawk enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Mountaineers open the CCAA tournament on Thursday against the Quebec runner-up, Vanier Cheetahs of Montreal.
OCAA teams have won the CCAA championship 11 times since 1981, the last coming in 2002.
All games will be webcast on sportscanada.tv
Championship Website: www.ccaamensbasketball2012.ca
1. UNBC Timberwolves (PACWEST champion/ Prince George, B.C.).
2. Mount Royal Cougars (ACAC champion/ Calgary, Alta.).
3. Indiens d’Ahuntsic (RSEQ champion/ Montreal, Que.).
5. Vanier Cheetahs (RSEQ silver/ Montreal, Que.).
6. St Thomas Tommies (ACAA champion/ Fredericton, N.B.).
7. MSVU Mystics (ACAA silver/ Halifax, N.S.).
8. Red Deer Kings (ACAC silver/ Red Deer, Alta.).
Game 1 – Red Deer Kings vs. UNBC Timberwolves – 1 p.m.
Game 2 – Vanier Cheetahs vs. Mohawk Mountaineers – 3 p.m.
Game 3 – MSVU Mystics vs. Mount Royal Cougars – 6 p.m.
Game 4 – St Thomas Tommies vs. Indiens d’Ahuntsic – 8 p.m.