(London, Ontario) – The Falcons Men's Basketball team (14-7, 5th in West) secured their spot at the OCAA Provincial Championship with a road win over the Durham Lords (14-7, 3rd in East) on Saturday evening. Fanshawe proved to be too much for the Lords to handle, as the Falcons came away with a 79-67 win in Oshawa.
Both teams dealt with some nerves to start the game, shooting less than 30% from the field in the opening quarter. Fanshawe forward Alfred Johnson (London, ON) had a layup for the red and white, followed by a put-back from Zach Soltis (Cambridge, ON) to give the Falcons a 15-13 lead after quarter one.
In the second frame, fifth-year defensive specialist Mohamed Alor (Winnipeg, MB) made some key stops for the Birds. Alor also contributed six points in the quarter. Fanshawe struggled to make shots from behind the arc in the first half but found other ways to score. The Falcons pushed the ball in transition and got fast break points from rookie Kuek Duol (London, ON). At the break, Fanshawe held a slim 31-30 advantage.
Midway through the third quarter, the Falcons went on a 14-0 run, including nine points from standout guard Chris Parker (Toledo, OH). Carter Hawthornthwaite (London, ON) hit a triple for Fanshawe to give them some separation from the host Lords. After 30 minutes of play the score was 58-43 in favour of the red and white.
With an OCAA final eight berth on the line, Durham stepped it up in the fourth frame. The Lords chipped away at Fanshawe's lead to make the score 67-65 with three minutes remaining. The Falcons were able to stay composed down the stretch and made 9 of 10 free throws in the final quarter to secure the win. Parker had a game-high 28 points on the night.
The OCAA Provincial Championship will take place from February 28 to March 2 at Georgian College in Barrie. The Falcons will face the #8 Sheridan Bruins (16-5, 2nd in West) in an OCAA quarterfinal on Thursday, February 28 at 3pm. Fanshawe split the season series with Sheridan (1-1).