Many of the of the 2,992 who took in the Guelph Nighthawks' season-opener Thursday night at the Sleeman Centre might have been at the game for reasons other than basketball, but they were treated to a pretty good game none-the-less.
The Nighthawks downed the expansion Scarborough Shooting Stars 89-80 to open the season.
Playing for Scarborough was Emmy award-winning rapper J. Cole, who signed with the team after playing three games professionally in Africa last year. Cole is friends with Drake, who has friends involved with the ownership of the Shooting Stars.
Former Toronto Raptor and current Indiana Pacer Oshae Brissett was also in the crowd, spending time posing for pictures with fans.
Cole played a relatively unassuming 14:49 minutes in the game, hitting one of four shots – a three pointer from the corner that saw the crowd erupt with the biggest cheer of the night. He also had one rebound and one foul.
Cat Barber led the Nighthawks with 20 points, including the game-ending mid-range jumper during the Elam ending to end the game. Ahmed Hill and A.J. Lawson each finished with 18 for the home side.
Guelph shot 41 per cent from the floor but committed just five turnovers on the night compared to 15 by Scarborough.
The Nighthawks led by one at the half and outscored Scarborough 25-14 in the fourth quarter to pull away with the win.
Former Toronto Raptor Jalen Harris led all scorers with 21 points for Scarborough.
Guelph's next game is Tuesday when they host the Niagara River Lions at the Sleeman Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.