Turn your calendar back to January 28, 2015, or more specifically, to the day Brock men’s basketball showed they were truly ready to be competitive with the top teams in the OUA.
Bob Davis Gymnasium at Brock University was packed as a 5-7 Badgers team welcomed the 12-2 Ryerson Rams. This was the fifth straight season the Rams were more than a .500 team, whereas Brock was trying to breakout of the basement in their division, following three wins in their last five games.
The confidence showed early for the young Badger team. At halftime Brock trailed Ryerson 42-38, in which then-sophomore Dani Elgadi and rookie Johneil Simpson had 11 and 14 points at half, respectively. As the time ticked off in the third quarter, belief began to grow in the Brock gym that the home team could pick up an upset victory over the Rams.
Then with under 2:30 left in the third, Elgadi picked up his third and fourth foul. It forced the star to play conservative basketball to avoid his fifth foul, which he eventually received late in the fourth. The Rams proceeded to go on a 33-8 run after Elgadi’s fourth foul to conclude the game.
However, very few remember the 29-point Rams win, or the well-played three quarters by the Badgers. Yet, this 2015 game marks the start of what most look at as a new OUA rivalry. Both Ryerson and Brock fans look forward to the matchup between the two teams each season. Arenas, no matter in Toronto or St. Catharines, get packed; in the 2015-16 season Brock sent three student buses to Toronto, Ryerson countered a year later with four buses and this year Brock plans to answer with five.
The Badgers have beaten Ryerson in four of their last five matchups (including exhibition) following the 2015 loss.
The two teams will meet again on Wednesday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto. A Brock win will only grow belief that the Badgers are a better team. Ryerson, after being upset by Western this past weekend, will need to prove they still belong among the top tier of the OUA.
Four games into the 2017-18 season, the Badgers are the fifth best offense in the OUA, averaging 88.8 points per game on 45.9 per cent from the field. Ryerson is right on par with Brock, shooting 45.6 per cent from the field, but they’re only averaging 74.7 point per game. Defensively, the edge goes to Ryerson, who in three games this season have held their opponents to an average of 62.7 point per game. While Brock has allowed an average of 71.5 points.
Last year, after starting the season 4-0, the Badgers proceeded to lose four of five games. It was arguably the toughest road schedule in the league, as Brock travelled to play Carleton and Ottawa followed by trips to Laurentian, Nipissing and two games in Thunder Bay against Lakehead.
This year Brock has a more road-friendly schedule, as they are currently 2-0 on their toughest stretch of road games. They’ll conclude the four-game trip against Toronto this upcoming weekend, but first the focus is on Ryerson.
Brock women’s basketball will also be travelling to Ryerson for a Wednesday matchup. The Badgers will be looking to bounce back from two consecutive losses, including a 42-point loss to Queen’s.
The Badgers looked good in their first two games of the season, beating Western and upsetting Laurier at home. However, the team struggled offensively against York and Queen’s.
It will get a bit easier for the Badgers as both Brock and Ryerson matchup evenly on the defensive side, as they both allow 62 points per game. Offensively, the 1-2 Rams have about a six-point edge over the Badgers.
The Rams lone win came against a struggling Algoma program, and they followed that up with a loss to Windsor. Ryerson also lost to Western, who Brock beat.
Both teams will be entering Wednesday trying to snap a two-game losing streak.