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BRAMPTON, Ont. – Sheridan College in Brampton, Ont. plays host to the 2014 belairdirect Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Men’s Basketball Championship, beginning Thursday and running through Saturday.

Eight teams will vie for the OCAA title, including the host and defending provincial champion Sheridan Bruins. Seven of the eight teams that participated at last year’s championship make their return in 2014.

A total of 12 games will be played in a span of three days. The OCAA quarter-finals will take place on Thursday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Losing teams will compete in the bronze medal quarter-finals on Friday, followed by the OCAA semi-final matches. The bronze medal semi-finals and final will take place on Saturday leading into the OCAA gold medal match.

The OCAA champion advances to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Basketball National Championship, taking place in Squamish, B.C. next month.

Here is a look at the OCAA quarter-finalists:

Algonquin Thunder (20-0, 1st East)

The Algonquin Thunder did something this season no other OCAA club has accomplished, winning 20 regular season games.

While there have been perfect records in the OCAA, none have occurred during a 20-game schedule. Although Algonquin is in the history books, the Thunder prefer a 23-0 mark, making them OCAA champions for the first time since 2003.

The defending bronze medalists are led offensively by fifth-year guard Njuguna Waiganjo (Ottawa) and his 20.9 points per game average.

Algonquin takes on regional rival Durham in the quarter-finals. Algonquin swept the two-game regular season series.

Durham Lords (10-10, 5th East)
The lone newcomer to this year’s elite eight are the Durham Lords, winners of four straight, including an 81-71 outcome at St. Clair in the qualifying round.

Durham may be peaking at the right time, with veterans Ajahmo Clarke (Ajax) and Eric Smith (Ajax) both averaging over 20 points per game for the Lords.

Durham is on a prolonged OCAA medal drought. The last time Durham finished on the podium at provincials was 1997, when the Lords won both the OCAA and national titles.

Durham takes on Algonquin in the quarter-finals.

Fanshawe Falcons (11-7, 5th West)

Fanshawe came up with an 85-80 victory at Centennial in the OCAA qualifying round to punch its ticket to provincials.

The Falcons are led offensively by second-year forward Chavaun Miller-Bennett (London) and his 13.2 points per game average. He shot 63.6 per cent from the field for 24 points in the playoff victory.

Fanshawe takes on division rival Mohawk in the quarter-finals. These teams split their two-game season series, with the all-important rubber match on a neutral Sheridan court.

Fanshawe has medalled in three of the past four provincials, being shut out last year.

George Brown Huskies (15-5, 2nd East)

George Brown’s Vadim Halimov (Uzbekistan) had the season of his life, setting a new single season scoring record of 624 points, while earning the all-time career record of 1,903 points.

The fifth-year forward now has one last opportunity at an OCAA medal. George Brown has not earned a medal at provincials since taking silver in 1990.

The Huskies take on defending champion Sheridan in the quarter-finals. George Brown has split its last four games, including an overtime loss in its regular season finale at Georgian.

Humber Hawks (15-3, 2nd West)

Mohawk, Humber and Sheridan all tied on top of the West region with equal 15-3 records. With Sheridan earning automatic entry to provincials, Humber drew the short end of the straw, needing a 16th win in the qualifying round to earn its way into the tournament.

Humber defeated Georgian 94-80 on home court, sealing its spot at provincials. First-year point guard R.J. Ramirez (Mississauga) dropped 26 points in the win.

Outside of Algonquin, Humber is the hottest team in the OCAA entering the post-season unbeaten in its last 11 contests. Third-year centre Greg Edelsward (Burlington) is averaging 12.8 points per game to lead all Hawks.

Humber takes on Seneca in a rematch of last year’s quarter-final, won by Seneca 89-77.

Mohawk Mountaineers (15-3, 1st West)

It wasn’t quite by rock, paper, scissors, but the Mohawk Mountaineers won the OCAA West regional championship by favourable tiebreakers. Mohawk won their final seven regular season games, peaking at the most opportune time.

Mohawk is no stranger to success at provincials, winning the OCAA and national titles in 2012, before dropping in the OCAA finale to Sheridan in 2013.
Mohawk is led by fourth-year guard Matt Fennell (London) and his 25.4 points per game average. Defensively, fourth-year forward Andrew Cicuttini (Dundas) led the OCAA with 230 rebounds, and fourth-year centre Taylor Dowhaniuk (Dundas) led all players with 77 blocks.

Mohawk takes on West region rival Fanshawe in the quarter-finals. Mohawk defeated Fanshawe 97-73 in its regular season finale.

Seneca Sting (10-10, 4th East)

The Seneca Sting have won four of their last five games, earning a post-season berth and a trip to provincials in the process.

Seneca downed Lambton 92-75 in the qualifying round to secure a second straight elite eight berth.

Calmar Morgan (Scarborough) leads the Sting in scoring averaging 24.1 points per game, and teammate Jamal Boyce (Rexdale) is averaging 19.7.

Seneca takes on crosstown rival Humber in the quarter-finals.

Sheridan Bruins (15-3, 3rd West)

Sheridan has an opportunity to defend its OCAA championship on home court.

The Bruins started the season off with a bang, winning 14 of 15 games. But Sheridan has dropped two of its last three, coming against Mohawk and Humber – two potential opponents at provincials. (Mohawk swept the two-game season series against Sheridan).

Sheridan has an 8-1 record on home court this season, and will look to use this to its advantage. Fourth-year guard Trevor Williams (Toronto) leads the Bruins averaging 16.4 points per game.

Sheridan opens against George Brown in the quarter-finals.

Championship Website: 2014ocaambb.com
Thursday, February 27
Game 1 – Durham vs. Algonquin – 1 p.m.
Game 2 – Seneca vs. Humber – 3 p.m.
Game 3 – Fanshawe vs. Mohawk – 6 p.m.
Game 4 – Sheridan vs. George Brown – 8 p.m.

Friday, February 28
Bronze Quarter-Finals
Game 5 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 1 p.m.
Game 6 – Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – 3 p.m.
Game 7 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 6 p.m.
Game 8 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 1
Bronze Semi-Finals
Game 9 – Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6 – 10 a.m.
Game 10 – Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5 – 12 p.m.
Bronze Medal Match
Game 11 – Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10 – 5 p.m.
Winning team presented OCAA Bronze Medal at conclusion of match
Gold Medal Match
Game 12 – Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 – 7 p.m.
OCAA Gold and Silver Medals presented at conclusion of match
– OCAA –

The Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) is a recognized leader in intercollegiate athletics in the province, dedicated to student athlete and sport development. The OCAA has 29 members sponsoring 11 sports.

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