The term ‘divisional rival’ exists in all level of sport, but doesn’t necessarily mean the two teams are at the same level of success. For the Brock Badgers and McMaster Marauders men’s basketball programs, the divisional rivalry – or what I refer to as the ‘QEW rivalry’ – has been competitive even though the programs seem to never be on the same end of the success-to-failure spectrum.
Over the last two seasons the Badgers have posted a 36-7 record, and while the Marauders have begun to trend upwards, they have only played to a 18-25 record. The five seasons prior, the Marauders were a combined 78-25 and the Badgers were 42-61.
Over their last 10 matchups both teams have won five each, with the Badgers having won four of the last five and the Marauders having a plus-94-point differential.
It could be said that the 2018/2019 season is the first time in quite a while that the two rivals have a similar chance at an OUA Championship appearance. That’s why this past Fridays game between the Badgers and Marauders was dubbed as an early season test for both teams playing in a wide-open OUA West division.
“It’s going to be a dog fight,” said Brock men’s head coach Madhav Trivedi. “I just think our division’s going to be a dog fight. Anybody could beat anybody.”
The OUA West is going to be a battle of five teams, unlike previous years when only one or two teams have been truly competitive. Along with the Badgers and Marauders are the Laurier Golden Hawks, Windsor Lancers and Western Mustangs.
For the Badgers and Marauders, their rivalry is renewed and competitive once again as the Hamilton university pulled through on Friday with a 79-73 victory over Brock.
“You could feel the intensity level,” said Trivedi. “They were celebrating in their locker room. It was a rivalry game that they won.”
A quick 27-9 opening quarter for the Marauders was the difference. The Badgers struggled to slow down the Marauders offense in the first, let alone find their own success offensively.
Prior to the game Trivedi was keen on his team matching the Marauders intensity from the get go, which just didn’t happen.
“We didn’t match it,” said Trivedi following the game. “The first quarter showed it from a defensive perspective.”
The Badgers defence picked up in the second quarter, holding the Marauders to 12 points and cutting the lead to 13 at halftime. Through the first two quarters the Badgers were shooting 28.6 per cent from the field and one-for-12 from three, while the Marauders shot 44.1 per cent and hit five threes.
The second half was a different story, as the Badgers began to get to the free throw line at will, shooting 21 free throws for the half (they missed seven of the 21 in the six-point loss). Cassidy Ryan, who the Badgers have desperately needed to see pick up his game, scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half.
Tyler Brown also had a solid second half scoring 10 of his 13 in the final 20 minutes, Daniel Cayer and Johneil Simpson added 12 and 10, respectively.
McMaster had five players reach double figures, led by Connor Gilmore’s 18 points and 12 rebounds. David McCulloch scored 13 points, Kwasi Adu-Poku added 12 off the bench, Matt Quiring scored 10 and was a rebound shy of a double-double, and Jordan Henry scored 11.
“After only scoring 26 points in the first half, they came out and literally just scored from the free throw line,” said McMaster head coach Patrick Tatham. “They did a great job clawing all the way back. It’ll be a tough matchup in game two.”
The Badgers and Marauders will match up again on January 30, as Brock will travel down the QEW to the Burridge Gym.
Both the Badgers and Marauders will travel north this upcoming weekend to play Laurentian and Nipissing. The Badgers will play Laurentian on Friday and Nipissing on Sunday.