Brock men’s basketball defeats rival McMaster on the road

The last time Brock men’s basketball played McMaster the game was moved to the downtown St. Catharines arena to allow for a larger crowd. The Meridian Centre was packed with 2,673 people, a majority being Brock students.

It was a late season matchup between the Badgers and Marauders – a matchup that determined the OUA Central division for the 2015-2016 season.

McMaster would win that late season game 80-69, after losing to Brock earlier that season 83-75.

Those two games proved that the Brock versus McMaster basketball rivalry was reborn.

On Wednesday night the two teams met for the first time for the 2016-2017 season. It was a game some Badger fans called ‘a revenge game’ for last year’s loss. For the two teams however, they treated it like a normal regular season matchup.

McMaster came in with a 2-0 record after two tightly contested wins over Lakehead and Brock barely pulled out a win over the University of Toronto in their first game of the season.

Brock fans took this game seriously, as students packed two buses to go cheer on Brock in Hamilton. It wasn’t the first time Badger fans had travelled to a road game, as last season Brock had buses for games at Laurier, Ryerson and their playoff matchup versus Carleton.

This Brock versus McMaster game began with a Dani Elgadi rare three pointer, certainly guaranteeing we were in for an entertaining game.

The highlight of the first quarter was McMaster’s Chris Thompson, who came off the bench to provide 10 of his 21 points for the game. McMaster would take an 18-17 lead after the first.

In the second quarter the focus shifted to McMaster’s Connor Gilmore, who scored 11 points on four of five shooting. Brock as a team continued to hang around, although they went into halftime down 35-31.

Then in the third Brock came out hot as they would ride a 9-2 run in the opening minutes of the second half. Brock would finally lead at the end of a quarter, as the score was 51-48 for the Badgers.

The fourth quarter would go back and forth between the two teams as there were 13 ties or lead changes. McMaster’s biggest fourth quarter lead came at the 5:30 mark when they led 61-57, but Brock began to find their opportunity to regain the lead.

A Johneil Simpson and-1 would give the Badgers a 65-63 lead with under 1:25 to play. Brock would not look back as they held on for a 72-71 win.

Brock was led offensively by Elgadi, who scored 20 points while getting his first double-double of the season with 12 rebounds. Ryan Bennett, who was coming off a 20 point performance against Toronto, added 13 in this contest. NCAA transfer Cassidy Ryan came off the bench to score 10.

The Marauders were led by Gilmore’s 25 points and 10 rebound performance. Thompson added five steals to his 21 points, David McCulloch had 11 points with seven rebounds and Rohan Boney shot a poor 4-17 for 10 points for McMaster.

This is the second year in a row Brock has defeated McMaster on the road early in the season, but this rivalry doesn’t end here. The two teams will meet again in 10 days when McMaster makes the trip to St. Catharines for a game that should be equally entertaining as Wednesday night.

Over on the women’s side, the story was different. McMaster, ranked second in the country, would defeat the Badgers 86-51.

It was a tough game for the Badgers as they didn’t shoot the ball well and were limited to an eight women rotation.

The Badgers as a team shot 32.8 per cent compared to McMaster’s 46.4 per cent. This game really came down to the Marauders shooting 10 of 20 from three and the Badgers going 0-5.

Brock tried endlessly to try and get some scoring in the paint hoping it would lead to open outside shots, but the Marauders defence was too much.

Kira Cornelissen had 17 points and nine rebounds for Brock, but was eight for 24 from the field. Alex Symonds was impressive with 12 points on six of seven shooting. Bridget Atkinson, who joined the starting lineup after coming off the bench against Toronto, was held in check against McMaster alongside fellow guard Mellissa Tatti. The two combined for 10 points on four of 20 shooting.

McMaster got a huge game from Linnaea Harper, who shot a deadly six of eight from three for 26 points and eight rebounds. Rachel Holmes was also strong from the outside, knocking down three three’s for 15 points. Clare Kenney added 14 points as she went perfect from the line (6-6) and Danielle Boiago quietly had 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Brock women (1-1) and men (2-0) will now take on another divisional team in the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday. The women’s game begins at 1:00 p.m. and the men tip-off at 3:00 p.m. in Bob Davis Gymnasium.

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