Men’s basketball battles from behind to win bronze in Nationals

by | Mar 17, 2019 | Sports, Varsity

Paige McGowan, Sports Reporter

The Humber Hawks men’s basketball team wrapped up its 2018-19 season at Nationals with a come-from-behind win Saturday evening, defeating the Quebec team from Montmorency in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association bronze medal game. 

Humber Hawks defeated Laval’s Nomades de Montmorency March 16 in an 84-76 come-from-behind game to win the bronze medal at Nationals in B.C. (CCAAsportACSC)

The Hawks had a rough start to the weekend, dropping the opening game in the round robin to a near perfect effort from the Vanier Cheetahs on Thursday afternoon.

Every time the Hawks made a move, the Cheetahs responded. 

The Vanier Cheetahs, the RSEQ Quebec champions, trailed for the first few minutes but led the rest of the way as they opened the 2019 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship at Langley Events Centre in Vancouver with a 102-94 victory over the Hawks.

“They hit a lot of three’s that game, that’s honestly what it came down to, we couldn’t get stops when we needed to, I think we played well but we let them get too comfortable too early and we couldn’t get over the hump,” said Humber guard Jordon Francis. 

DeQuon Cascart led Humber with 19 points, while Curwin Elvis chipped in with 18 and Fowzi Mohamoud had 15. 

Hawks senior guard and Player of the Game Curwin Elvis goes up for a reverse layup. (CCAAsportACSC)

Elvis was named the Humber Player of the Game.

But the loss relegated the Hawks to the bronze medal route, set to play the SAIT Trojans on day two. The Hawks kept their medal hopes alive with 90-82 victory over the Trojans.

Humber, the wild-card entry from the OCAA, battled to a 15-5 lead but the Alberta college champions from Calgary battled back, leading by as many as seven points in the second quarter.

The back-and-forth game continued with the Hawks up 42-35 at the half, and they never looked back for the rest of the game.

Humber guard Cascart was named the Humber Player of the Game.

Hawks guard Fowzi Mohamoud shoots another three-point shot. Mohamoud has a high success rate on the three-point line and is comfortable shooting deep threes. (CCAAsportACSC)

Cascart had 18 points, six rebounds and three assists while Humber’s power forward Jaylan Morgan scored a team-high 20 points for the Hawks.

Next up, the Hawks played their semi final game against the Holland Hurricanes, from Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The Hawks played a strong offensive game, shooting 52 per cent both from the field and the three-point line helping them finish the game with a final score of 106-97.

The Hurricanes, the ACAA champions, had coming off their first loss of the season the night before in the championship semi-finals, and Humber gave them their second loss of their season.

Hawks forward Cy Samuels kept his team calm by making smart plays and creating opportunities for his teammates. (CCAAsportACSC)

Jaylan Morgan was named Player of the Game for Humber by scoring 24 points along with eight rebounds and five assists. Elvis clutched 20 points, Mohamoud had 17 points and Jordon Francis finished with 12 points.

The win put Humber in the bronze medal game where they would face the Nomads de Montmorency.

“This was the last game of my career, so for me I just wanted to come back with something,” Elvis said. “We didn’t want to go back home empty handed.”

Playing in their fourth game in three days, the men were tired but ready to play, jumping to a five-point lead after 10 minutes of play before the Laval’s Nomades de Montmorency offence went on a run to tie the game at 28 with 5:06 remaining in the half.

Hawks forward Jaylan Morgan was named a championship first-team all-star. (CCAAsportACSC)

The Hawks rallied from a dozen points down in the third quarter to defeat Nomades 84-76 in the bronze medal game.

“Obviously it’s not the outcome we wanted at Nationals, but I think it takes a lot of character for our team to rally back and battle the way we did,” Elvis said. “To lose our first game in a heartbreak fashion and win three more games to get bronze I think shows a lot of character, so I’m satisfied with the way we left that weekend.”

Humber had four of its five starters reach double digits in scoring, led by Humber’s Player of the Game Jordon Francis with 18 points, including three-of-four from three-point range, six rebounds, and two assists. 

“I told myself when we first got there that I was going to leave my heart in B.C., so that’s what I tried to do in the last game and shots happened to fall so I just kept going for it,” Francis said. “My teammates put me in a great situation to be successful and they trusted me to take shots.”

Morgan added 15 points, while Elvis scored 14 points and Cascart finishing with 10 points.

Seniors Elvis and Jordan Rose finish their careers with three CCAA medals, one Gold in 2015, a Silver from 2016, and now a Bronze.

“Everybody asks me how retirement feels and it hasn’t fully hit me yet,” Elvis said. “It’s been an honour to play for Humber.”

Morgan was named a championship first-team all-star. 

Hawks guard Jordon Francis shows he can preform well under pressure as he earns Player of the Game in the bronze medal game, scoring 18 points. (CCAAsportACSC)

The men’s basketball program at Humber is one of the most storied programs in the OCAA and CCAA, leading the province and country in collegiate titles.

The Hawks have reached the OCAA podium 32 times in the past 35 years with 14 gold medals. 

Humber earned 13 medals including six gold at CCAA Nationals, and were last crowned National Champions in 2015.

“It was a great season, but I’m hungrier than ever, I’m not satisfied,” Francis said. “I still believe we should have got gold and I want gold next year so I’m even hungrier and excited, especially on the home court.”

Head coach Samson Downey becomes the first coach in program history to capture a CCAA medal in their first season.

The CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship will be hosted by Humber College in 2020 between March 18 and 21.