Since being down 24 points at halftime to the Lakehead Thunderwolves a couple Saturdays ago, the Brock men’s basketball team has come alive. They were looking at their third straight loss and fifth in six games — however, they were able to outscore the Thunderwolves 48-22 in the second half to rally back for a win.
Since that moment, the Badgers have been able to outscore their opponents over the course of the last 10 quarters 207-149. By far their best stretch of basketball all season has come over the last two and a half games. This is coming at a time when people began to question their national ranking status.
The Lakehead game was when head coach Charles Kissi swapped guard Johneil Simpson out of the starting rotation for rookie guard Daniel Cayer. Since then Kissi has stuck with the change and its worked. Since entering the starting five, Cayer is averaging nine points per game and Simpson is averaging 15.7 points off the bench.
The change has allowed for a much better balanced attack offensively for the Badgers. Prior to the change the Badgers were averaging 17.7 turnovers per game, which ranked at the bottom of the OUA. Over the last three games they’ve averaged 14.3 turnovers per game, but for the most part have done well taking care of the ball. The team has stayed consistent with their field goal percentage, averaging about 40 per cent per game.
The Badgers have seen the biggest impact on the defensive end, which Kissi has said multiple times this season will be the end of the court that wins the Badgers games. In their first nine games, opponents were averaging 76 points per game. However, the last three games that number has dropped to 65.3 points per game.
That being said, the Badgers defence didn’t look good simply because they played teams with poor offenses. Lakehead has been the worst offensive team, but Queen’s and York rank seventh and 12th in points per game, averaging above 70, but Brock held both teams below that 70 point mark this past weekend.
Brock beat Queen’s 77-63 behind a season-high 17 points from Tyler Brown and Cassidy Ryan. Dani Elgadi would add 13 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Cayer added nine points and nine rebounds, falling just shy of his first career double-double.
Against York, the Badgers were led by Elgadi’s sixth double-double, as the star forward scored 15 points and had 22 rebounds on route to a 82-64 win. Simpson added 22, while Ryan Bennett had 17 points with five threes.
After being 20 minutes away from what could have been a three game losing streak, the Badgers instead now ride a three game winning streak into their matchup against the fourth ranked Ryerson Rams. After being blown out by number one and two ranked Carleton and Ottawa, the Badgers need to show they can compete against the best when they take on the Rams at the Meridian Centre.
Back in October the Badgers defeated the Rams 78-68 in preseason action. The Rams looked like they were still very much in preseason mode, while the Badgers looked like a mid-season team. Now, the two teams are in opposite positions.
The Rams have opened the season 12-0 and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 28 points. All of the Rams wins have come by 17 or more points.
Nonetheless, Brock versus Ryerson will be the biggest game of the week, and it’ll be in front of a crowd that will probably come close to, if not, exceed 3,000 people.
Brock versus Ryerson men’s game will tip-off at 8:00 p.m. at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines. Student tickets for Brock students are available for free at the Walker Desk. Ryerson has planning to send buses to the game to outshine Brock’s crowd with their own.