The leaves are starting to fall as Halloween approaches and for sports fans that only means one thing: basketball is on its way. The NBA season opens up this week, and for Canadian fans, so does CIS Basketball. There have been a lot of exciting pre-season games so far within the CIS. Some universities have defeated NCAA schools, while others have fallen short, but the games within Canadian universities have not yet disappointed as the league continues to grow.
This past weekend, Brock hosted the RBC Classic, in which seven universities around the country came to St. Catharines to participate in three games in as many days. The talented Ryerson Rams, Windsor Lancers and York University drove down the QEW, while teams like McGill, UQAM, Fraser Valley and Regina came from a further distance.
Our own Badgers basketball team got off to a solid 5-3 start prior to this weekend, with a couple of impressive wins over Mohawk College and Niagara College. The Badgers’ weekend schedule consisted of Fraser Valley on Friday night. They fell 104-93 to UFV, but Matt Marshall and Johneil Simpson impressed on offense combining for 47 of the Badgers’ points, though not enough to overcome 40 points from UFV’s Kadeem Willis, who was lights out to say the least.
Saturday was different for the Badgers. They got off to a slow start versus UQAM, but mid-way through the second half they really turned it up. Back-to-back threes and solid post play led the Badgers to an 81-65 win over Quebec University. Again, the Badgers were led by the duo of Marshall and Simpson, both dropping 17 points. Marshall also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Sunday was the closing day and the Badgers hoped to come away with at least two wins on the weekend, and they did exactly that. In a tightly contested matchup against Regina, the Badgers clawed their way to a two point win, 76-74. Though the Badgers didn’t come away with winning the RBC Classic, they still finished with a 2-1 record, bringing their pre-season record to 7-4. The Badgers have really demonstrated a lot of growth over this weekend, especially on the defensive end.
The 2014 RBC Classic title went to the Windsor Lancers, who finished the weekend 3-0, bringing their pre-season record to 10-0. The Lancers came away with a point differential of +78 as they beat McGill, Regina and Fraser Valley. Ryerson also went 3-0 with wins over UQAM, Fraser Valley and McGill. However, due to point differential, the Rams lost the RBC Classic to the Lancers. York also joined Brock going 2-1, while McGill and Fraser Valley came away with 1-2 records. Regina and UQAM both went winless for the weekend.
The Badgers will finish their pre-season on Nov. 1 versus Hilbert College, then the season kicks off with a two game road trip in Ottawa. On Nov. 7 and 8, the Badgers will face off against last year’s CIS Champions the Carleton Ravens and the runners up, the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s.
Within the OUA, the Badgers will compete in the Central Division against Guelph, Lakehead and McMaster as Head Coach Charles Kissi and the whole Badgers roster hope to makle the playoffs this year. Pre-season has gone the way the Badgers had hoped, and now they intend to transfer that success to the season.