Brock men’s basketball closed out their longest road trip of the regular season this past weekend, going undefeated, and improving to 6-0 on the season. The Badgers have arguably had the toughest schedule to start the season in the OUA, and it won’t get any easier. They play three potential top 10 teams in their final five games of 2017.
To start the year, the Badgers won two consecutive games at home before four straight road games. Following an easy win at York, the Badgers had to play the Queen’s Gaels on the second-leg of a back-to-back. The Badgers have had trouble when travelling to Kingston, losing their previous two games to the Gaels. However, Brock was able to pick up a five-point victory over the Gaels. They then had four days to prep for a tough road game versus Ryerson – which ended up being another five-point win.
Looking ahead to the remaining 2017 portion of the Badgers schedule, they’ll play Laurentian and Carleton, the only other teams currently undefeated in the OUA — both of which will be on the second day of a back-to-back. Before the Carleton game, Brock will have to play Ottawa, a program they haven’t beat in regular season play since 2011 – last year the Badgers picked up a OUA final four victory over Ottawa.
Let’s take a deeper look into Brock’s upcomnig matchups and who to watch for:
Nipissing Lakers (2-1) – November 17
Although the Lakers began the 2017-18 season with a 28-point loss to Laurier, they’ve bounced back with two consecutive wins. The Nipissing program has improved in each of its first three years of existence, and last year their biggest win came against the Badgers, so the Lakers know they can compete against this Brock team. A majority of their core has been together for four seasons now, but the Badgers will have a chip on their shoulder following last season’s loss.
Player to watch: Marcus Lewis
The senior guard played his first game of the season this past weekend and scored a team-high 20-points en route to a win over Lakehead. Lewis had a double-double last season against the Badgers with 16-points and 10-rebounds. The Badgers defence will need to be aggressive against Lewis to keep him out of rhythm.
Laurentian Voyageurs (3-0) – Nov. 18
The Laurentian program has quickly moved into the top 10 of the national rankings. Each of their three wins have been won by at least 16-points. The Voyageurs might be the third best team in the OUA, behind the Badgers and Carleton. Last year the Badgers pulled out a four-point win over Laurentian, and it is likely that it will be another close game this season.
Player to watch: Kadre Gray
An early candidate for OUA player of the year — and maybe U Sports player of the year — Gray is the Voyageurs offense. The second-year guard began the season with a 40-point performance and followed that up with a triple-double. He’s first in the OUA in points per game and assists per game, and fifth in rebounds per game. Gray also averages two steals per game. In last season’s matchup against Brock, he scored 24 points.
McMaster Marauders (1-4) – Nov. 24
Following their win over Guelph to start the season, the Marauders have lost four consecutive games. However, McMaster only lost by three to Ryerson and by four to Toronto in their previous two games. The Marauders aren’t the competitive program they have been in the past, so this will be a chance for the Badgers to step on the pedal early and pick up a blowout win. This match-up could also give the Badgers a chance to give their bench more minutes and gain experience early in the season, because the inexperience could play a factor down the road.
Player to watch: Miles Seward
Through five games, Seward has the fourth highest field goal percentage in the OUA for all players who average 14 or more shots per game. Scoring 25 points per game, the guard will need be to be kept off the three-point line, where he averages 10.5 shots per game.
Ottawa Gee-Gee’s (3-1) – December 1
Ottawa was upset by Laurier this past weekend, and still have four games to play before their matchup against Brock. It’s too early to say where the Gee-Gee’s stand in the OUA, but it’ll become much clearer when they play Carleton on Nov. 14. They average the fourth most points per game and hold teams to the fifth least points per game.
Player to watch: Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles
The forward had a breakout year last season, after transferring from Carleton to Ottawa. This year he has continued where he left off last year. Pierre-Charles is averaging 15.8 points per game on 69.4 per cent shooting and nine rebounds per game. However, with Dani Elgadi and Cassidy Ryan in the middle for Brock, it will be interesting to see how he performs against a Brock team with a lot of length.
Carleton Ravens (4-0) – Dec. 2
This could be the game of the year, as the two currently undefeated teams will play at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines, in front of potentially 3,000-plus people. In the past, the Ravens have had their way with the Badgers, but this season will be the best Brock team Carleton has played in quite sometime. It’s an early season matchup, so this game won’t define either team, but it could be an early teaser to the OUA championship game.
Player to watch: the entire Ravens bench
The difference between the Badgers of the past and the Badgers of the present is the added depth. The eight new players give Brock a much-needed boost against opposing teams. The starting five, which scores about 80 per cent of Brock’s points, will hold their own against Carleton’s starters. However, the Ravens get strong play from their whole bench, led by sixth man TJ Lall. Brock has received respectable play off the bench from Kascius Small-Martin and Donald Mims, but will need others to step up as Carleton’s roster is 13 strong.