Coming into Saturday’s game versus McMaster it seemed Brock men’s basketball had more to prove to themselves and the league than they did earlier this year when they defeated the Marauders 72-71.
Last season the Badgers beat the Marauders in the first of two meetings as well, but would lose the second game which ultimately affected their playoff seeding position. In fact, the last time the Badgers defeated the Marauders twice in one season was the 2007-2008 year when the Badgers went on to win the National Championship.
Coming into the second matchup versus the Marauders, the Badgers held a 3-0 record and have not started a season 4-0 since the 2008-2009 season. So beating the Marauders twice in a season and starting 4-0 would end two long droughts for the Badgers. More importantly, it would establish them as a top U Sports team, if they weren’t already, ahead of their trip to Ottawa to play two of the best programs in the country in the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s and Carleton Ravens.
This second matchup against the Marauders followed suit with all the Badgers games so far this season. Struggling to find consistency on both ends of the floor, especially on the offensive side as they continuously seem to struggle trying to get into their sets.
“We have a talented deep team, one of the deepest in the country so we have to trust each other and play together,” said head coach Charles Kissi about the inconsistent offense. “We just have to continue to trust each other and play together.”
Watching the Badgers play, it seems some of their players are trying to do too much on the court offensively. Instead of moving the ball and getting to the rim, the Badgers as individuals are doing more than they need to on a roster that is loaded with talent.
Defensively, they are picking up the most fouls per game than any other team in the league at 25.5 fouls per game. In fact teams are getting to the line 28.5 times per game versus the Badgers, and the Marauders shot 30 free throws this past Saturday.
“I respect our aggressiveness because we want to be aggressive,” said Kissi. “But we have to continue to defend in ways that doesn’t cause fouls.”
Although the Badgers continued to not find consistency for the fourth consecutive game, they were able to defeat the Marauders again, this time by a score of 76-73.
A major factor in the game was the Badgers ability to hold the Marauders to 38 per cent shooting, and three for 21 from three. The Badgers now rank third in the OUA in opponents field goal percentage, only behind Ryerson and McMaster.
The Marauders held their biggest lead of the game of 11 at the 9:39 mark in the fourth quarter, but Johneil Simpson would rally the Badgers back. In the first half, Simpson was benched following an attempt to pass an alley-oop to Dani Elgadi off the backboard on a 2-on-1. In the fourth Simpson made up for the showboat move as he scored 14 of his team high 20 points in the quarter.
The Marauders would have the final shot of the game with five seconds left down 76-73, but were unable to get a shot off, dropping their second game to the Badgers and falling to 3-2 on the season.
Along with Simpson’s performance, the Badgers got 14 points and eight rebounds from Ryan Bennett, Trevor Thompson had 11 and Dani Elgadi added 10 points.
McMaster’s Connor Gilmore was held to two of 11 shooting, but was still able to score 12 points and grab nine rebounds. Rohan Boney and Chris Thompson led the way for the Marauders with 13 each.
Both teams will now turn their attention to a two game road trip as four of the top 10 ranked teams in Canada will all be in Ottawa. The Badgers will get number one Carleton on December 2, while the Marauders will play Ottawa. Then on Dec. 3, it’ll be Brock versus Ottawa and McMaster versus Carleton.
“Those aren’t places we can make the kind of mistakes we made tonight and get away with it,” said Kissi about playing the two Ottawa teams. “Those two teams are really good and they’ll punish you if you make the mistake we made tonight.”
This upcoming weekend will be huge for the Badgers. They’re a step ahead of last season now with two wins over the Marauders, and they can continue to take steps forward with two wins in Ottawa.
The last time the Badgers beat the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s came on November 11, 2011 and the last time Brock beat Carleton was on January 7, 2006. However, Brock has never defeated
Carleton in Ottawa.