Story By: Mohammad Khosroshahi
ETOBICOKE, Ont -- Fans were treated to a competitive matchup during Sunday evening's exhibition game between the Humber Hawks and the Carnegie Mellon University Tartan (from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – NCAA Division III) as the Hawks managed to pull off a win in the tightly contested match, with a final score of 86-81.
With head coach Patrick Au returning to the sidelines, Humber made the right adjustments on the defensive end, anchored by freshman Jaspreet Singh, who had three blocks in the game. Au made further changes for the Hawks by including five new starters in the line-up (Fowzi Mohamoud, Terry Hill, Jaspreet Singh, Byron Trench, and Kenny Ejim). Tartan head coach Tony Wingen searched for scoring options all game long and even made a substitution within the first 35 seconds of the first quarter.
The returning Humber Hawk, Kenny Ejim had the first game point after converting a free throw. Tartan junior Colin McNeil responded by finishing a tough right-handed lay-up giving the Tartan an early lead. The Tartan continued their lead as the Hawks trailed 7-1 until the Hawks made a forceful comeback with an 8-0 run. Both teams were unable to make any baskets for two minutes until DeQuon Cascart made a free throw which gave Humber a 3-point lead. CJ Bennett picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter, forcing Patrick Au to bench his third-year player early in the game. The Tartan ended their scoring drought when Zach Howarth went to the free-throw line, making 1 of 2 free throws. With both teams in the bonus at the end of the quarter, it was Humber who took advantage of their shots at the charity stripe, giving them a 21-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
Despite both teams struggling with the long distance shot, Jerome Gayle made a three-pointer, extending the Hawks' lead to six in the opening minute of the second quarter. The defensive intensity increased during the quarter as both teams traded turnovers. The Tartan answered with a three-pointer of their own, made by Cooper Williams, which cut the Hawks lead back down to 3. The Tartan tied the game after Patrick Ehland finished a difficult shot after being fouled. Immediately, the Hawks completed their own "And-1" as Byron Trench made a fade-away shot from the post despite contact. The competitive tone of the game remained intact with a tied score of 43-43 heading into the half.
After the 15-minute half, the Hawks returned to their offensive attack as Cascart scored the first point with a free-throw. Kenny Ejim led the way for the Hawks through three-quarters, as he finished the quarter with 15 points. The Tartan relied on Trent Suddeth to get them back in the game, as he worked in the post to carve up the Hawks, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds heading into the fourth quarter. Seth Henry also had 15 points heading into the final frame, giving the Tartan a slight edge, 71-70.
With 13 lead changes and 14 ties throughout the game, the Hawks finally pulled away in the fourth quarter following Jaspreet Singh's lead. Singh had a tough first three-quarters, as he racked up three turnovers (all resulting from travelling violations), but responded by leading the Hawks to victory in the final frame. The score remained close, but the Tartan missed numerous free-throws down the stretch, allowing the Hawks to take offensive advantage. With Stefan Grujic's lay-up, the Hawks took the lead at 76-74 and they did not concede from there as the Tartan continued to miss free-throws, costing them victory. The Hawks picked up the win with a final score of 86-81, giving them a 1-1 record in the pre-season.
The Hawks were led on the evening by a pair of players, as Byron Trench and Kenny Ejim erupted for 15 points each. Jaspreet Singh was the only other Hawk player in double figures, checking in with 13. Seth Henry, with his game high 20 points led the Tartan.
After the game, Humber Hawks assistant coach Chad Bewley noted, "it's early on in the year, it's good to see where we stand. Good to see how mentally focused we stayed at the end. A good test for our guys, now we see where we go from here."
Humber will be back in action on Saturday, September 23rd as they take on former Humber Hawks Alumni in a friendly, pre-season tune up. The game will be held at the Humber Athletics Centre.