The story of Wednesday night was trending similar to that of the 2016-17 season for Brock men’s basketball. The inability to play a full 40 minutes and the lack of depth was a major issue last season. However, the Badgers bench of eight new players stepped up big against the Ryerson Rams.
For the fourth game this season – out of five – Daniel Cayer fouled out for the Badgers, and so did key stars Dani Elgadi and Johneil Simpson. It forced rookies Kascius Small-Martin and Kwakwah Godsman, along with former University of Victoria guard Pat Pilato to step up late for the Badgers.
The bench play was key in the 80-75 overtime victory for the Badgers, but no one stepped up bigger than second-year forward Cassidy Ryan. After a career performance last Friday against York, where he scored 24-points, Ryan surpassed his career-high with 32-points.
With three of five starters out, the Badgers offense in overtime was going through Ryan. Six of his 32 points were scored in the overtime. Ryan, in 40 minutes of play, shot 13 of 19 from the field and made three three’s.
Last season the forward was limited to a sixth man role with the Badgers and struggled to find his offensive game. This year Ryan has been a clear offensive threat, averaging 21.6 point per game in the first five games.
The Badgers came out strong early against the Rams, going on a 16-3 run. The Rams answered quickly, especially after switching to a zone defence and placing 7’2 big man Tanor Ngom in the middle. A momentum shift that put Brock out of synch allowed Ryerson to take a one-point lead into the half -their first lead of the game.
Coming out of the locker room the Badgers found their groove again, but both teams played a very back and forth contest right to the final minute.
Jean-Victor Mukama kept the Rams rolling from the second-quarter on as he finished with 23-points and 13-rebounds. Myles Charvis, the Rams point guard had a streaky game, scoring 18-points. Ngom finished with 11, eight of those coming in the first half.
A major storyline for the Rams was their inability to hit free throws. Ryerson went 20-32 from the line, missing late key shots. The Badgers weren’t much better shooting 14 of 22 from the line, but Godsman’s three free throw’s in overtime were enough to ice the game.
Before fouling out, Elgadi finished the game with 13 points, Cayer had 11 and Simpson, who was hot in the first half finished with 10 – seven coming in the first half, but a huge three moments before his fifth foul helped keep Brock in the game.
Brock shot 46.2 per cent for the game compared to 35.3 per cent for the Rams. Overall, the game was evenly matched between two of the OUA’s top teams.
This was the Badgers fifth win against the Rams in the last six matchups between the teams, including exhibition. Brock is now 5-0 to start the season and the road victory in Toronto could put them in conversation for the number one team in Canada.
The Rams have now lost two straight games, following to 2-2 on the season. The last time the Rams started a season 2-2 was the 2011-12 season when they dropped their first two games of the season.
The next time these two teams meet again may not be until the OUA playoffs, but this game confirms that Brock has leap frogged Ryerson in any power rankings, and moved into second best in U Sports basketball.