Men's basketball climbs into CCAA rankings

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Fanshawe students are just getting back in to the swing of school with the start of a new term and new classes. But for varsity athletes, this time of year also means getting back to work and duking it out to win the championship. In the first rankings for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national teams of 2020, the Fanshawe Falcons men’s basketball team has reached the top 15.

This comes after having three exhibition games over the winter break. Seneca College hosted its annual sixth East and West Challenge. They combine the three best teams from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) West and East Divisions and face the three best teams in the other division. The event happened on Dec. 28 to 29, 2019 and had no effect on the season record.

The Falcons defeated previously fifth nationally ranked George Brown Huskies 92-86 in overtime, bumping the Huskies to the Number 12th spot. They also lost to the Seneca Sting in a 93-85 loss on Dec. 28 but came right back on the Sunday and beat the Centennial Colts 84-61 to finish the East and West Challenge. After this, the Fanshawe Falcons are nationally ranked 11th in the first rankings for 2020.

The recent success of the Falcons men’s basketball team so far this season has been with forward Alfred Johnson. Johnson, who is currently attending his fifth and final year in human resources management, is averaging 12.2 rebounds per game, most in the OCAA. He is also averaging the third most points in the OCAA West division with 21 points a game, right behind Guard Lequan Hylton from the Niagara Knights (21.1) and Guard/Forward Nick Campbell for the Sheridan Bruins (22.8).

Another reason why the Falcons are finding so much success is because of there freshmen guard Marko Maletic. Maletic, who is currently studying business, is having a spectacular season providing the team with some scoring, averaging 20.5 points per game as a rookie. He’s been the team’s key threepoint scorer averaging 39.4 percent of the three-point shots he take. If he continues to develop, he could be a name in the future.

Other OCAA teams making the national rankings are the Seneca Sting who ranks seventh, and the Sheridan Bruins who rank ninth.

The Fanshawe Falcons currently have a 9-2 record, tied for first place in the OCAA West division standings, with the St. Clair Saints (Windsor), which also has a 9-2 record. The 9-2 record however came to be because of a Falcon 8 game winning streak right before the holiday break. This was the largest winning streak the men’s team has had since the 2009/2010 season, when they won silver that year.

For the Fanshawe Falcons to get back to that level of success, the team will have to play the St. Clair Saints next in the Season Return on Jan. 17 in Windsor. This is a start of back to back games on the road for the Falcons before Fanshawe will return home and play during Falcon Fest against the Humber Hawks on Saturday, Jan. 25.