Déjà vu is the simplest way to explain Wednesday night for the Brock men’s basketball team. For the second consecutive season the Badgers fall short of reaching the OUA Championship and will leave their U Sports Final 8 hopes in the hands of a committee.
The Badgers came into the game having won four consecutive games over the Ryerson Rams, dating back to the 2016-2017 season. However, in a night of cold shooting for the Badgers and the Rams capitalizing on their chances, the better team came out on top.
“We got selfish,” said Brock head coach Charles Kissi. “The wrong guys got aggressive and the wrong guys got passive.”
The Badgers largest lead for the game was one point, as they seemed to have played behind the Rams all game. The Rams led 12-5 early, but the Badgers did make a run to take the lead to end the first quarter. However, a strong second quarter for the Rams saw the Badgers cool off on route to the Rams 69-63 win.
“We gave ourselves a great chance, but we didn’t capitalize and make plays when we needed to,” said Kissi.
The Badgers leading scorer Cassidy Ryan shot one for 12 from the field, while program cornerstone Dani Elgadi was four of 10 for a team-high 20 points – 12 of them coming at the free throw line. Johneil Simpson, a reliable scorer for the Badgers was three of 11.
As a team the Badgers only shot 28.1 per cent for the game as they consistently missed open shots throughout the game – the Rams also rotated between man-to-man and zone defence, throwing the Badgers out of sync.
Manny Diressa was the leading scorer for Ryerson with 19, Filip Vujadinovic added 16 and Myles Charvis scored 10 of his 15 in the first half. As a team the Rams were 46.8 per cent from the field.
“It’s basketball at the end of the day,” said Kissi. “Pick your head up and move on.”
The Badgers will now await to hear if they earn the wild-card spot to the Final 8, which is decided by a committee – the announcement will be made on March 4. Brock is a favourite to land the wild card spot, having ranked in the top three nationally for the entire season and having the best record amongst the teams that will be considered by the committee. They were also one of the favourites last year, but lost out on the spot to Calgary.
“Until I see an email saying we are in, I’m expecting that we have one more game and that’s it,” said Kissi. “I’m not confident in anyone, but our team.”
The Rams will head to Ottawa this weekend to play the Carleton Ravens. It’s the third consecutive year the Rams have made the OUA championship and have won in their previous two trips.
For the Badgers, a decision for the eighth spot in the Final 8 won’t come until the conclusion of all conference championship games across U Sports.
***Previously this article stated that the Badgers would play in a bronze medal game on Saturday. It has since been confirmed that the OUA has decided to go with no bronze medal game this season. Until the Final 8 wild-card spot is confirmed the Badgers 2017-2018 season at this point has come to a conclusion.***