LAVAL, QC – On the cusp of completing an incredible upset victory, the No. 11 Humber Hawks men's basketball team saw their gold medal hopes disappear as they lost a heartbreaker to the No. 5 Nomades de Montmorency in the 2018 CCAA National Championship quarterfinals Thursday evening, 92-89.
The Nomades struck fast in the first quarter, sinking a three-point shot that the Hawks quickly answered with three points of their own. Jumping out to an early lead, the Hawks scored seven straight, but a Nomades rally saw the Hawks fall behind 11-10. The lead would change multiple times as both teams fought for control, with the Nomades eventually managing to build a solid lead on seven straight points. Timely baskets from DeQuon Cascart and Fowzi Mohamoud cut down the deficit, with C.J. Bennett bringing the Hawks within one before closing out the first quarter four points back at 30-26.
After again yielding the first points of the quarter to the Nomades, the Hawks dominated the first half of the second, shutting the Nomades down for several minutes and going on a 12-point run to take a 38-32 lead. The Nomades responded by going on another seven-point streak, retaking the lead from the Hawks, and two costly pickoffs would put the Hawks down 45-40. Bennett, leading the charge for the Hawks, tied the game back up at 50 points apiece before scoring again to send the Hawks into the second half up 52-50. The Hawks went 48.5 per cent (17-of-35) from the field during the first half and converted on 72.7 per cent (8-of-11) of their three-point attempts.
After the Nomades landed the first points of the second half to tie the game, the Hawks took over. Both teams' offensive presences quieted, but the Hawks used a gradual streak of nine consecutive points to go up 63-54 over halfway into the third. The Nomades retaliated and pulled back within six on the scoreboard, but Kenny Ejim led the Hawks to five straight points to put themselves back in the driver's seat. With momentum of their side, the Hawks carried a ten-point lead into the fourth, up 71-61.
The game looked to be in the Hawks' hands as Cascart struck first with a dunk to start the fourth before opening the quarter on a 7-0 run. With the Hawks up 85-65 midway through the set, things seemed to be all said and done, but the Nomades were not through. The Nomades' offense exploded, overwhelming the Hawks as their lead evaporated before their eyes. The Hawks' offense that had been so strong to open the quarter went quiet, and with their lead down to one point with 65 seconds left, the Hawks fell behind as the Nomades completed an unbelievable comeback. Outscored 27-4 after being up by 20 points, the Hawks could not regain their lost lead, ultimately falling to the Nomades in heartbreaking fashion, losing 92-89.
The Hawks finished the game going 39.7 per cent (29-of-73) from the field and made 44 per cent (11-of-25) of their three-point shots. The Nomades shot 41 per cent (32-of-78) from the field and scored on 33.3 per cent (10-of-30) of their three-point attempts.
Fowzi Mohamoud was named the Player of the Game for the Hawks, finishing with a team high 22 points. C.J. Bennett had 21 points for the Hawks and had eight rebounds, while Kenny Ejim and DeQuon Cascart finished with 16 and 14 points each.
Blondeau Tchoukuieno, with 24 points, was named the Player of the Game for the Nomades. Kevin Civil led the team with 26 points, while Alix Lochard had 25 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double.
With the loss, the Hawks will play in a bronze quarterfinal matchup Friday, against the loser of Match #4. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST.