It hasn’t been the cleanest season for Brock men’s basketball, who picked up their 14th win and extended their win streak to four on February 1. With four games remaining on their schedule, some of the losses this season could be the cause of Brock missing out on the first seed, and potentially moving down to third.
Currently 14-6 and second in the OUA West, the Badgers probably wish they could get some of those losses back. On November 2, a nine-point first quarter put Brock in comeback mode, which fell short by six points against McMaster. On Nov. 17, they went into halftime leading Ryerson 38-22 and held a seven-point lead after three quarters but lost by nine. Then on Nov. 24, leading 49-40 at halftime over Ottawa, the Badgers fell apart in the second half again and lost by three. Their January 5 loss to Western was the cause of another slow start that led to a comeback that fell short, and their most recent loss to Windsor on Jan. 19 was another case of falling a part in the second half.
Over the last couple weeks however, there’s been moments that make it appear like everything is coming together for the Badgers — despite almost blowing a 21-point lead to Algoma. The players have shifted to a defence-first mindset, the rotation has expanded from one or two players off the bench to three or four and everyone’s confidence is showing on the offensive side of the floor.
“They’re following the game plan and I think we are starting to make strides at the right time,” said Brock head coach Madhav Trivedi. “It’s game-by-game, practice-by-practice.”
The Badgers received help in the standings with Lakehead defeating Western twice, moving Brock into sole possession of second place. A matchup on Feb. 9 between Brock and Western will most likely sort out who the number two seed will be in the playoffs. Brock’s hopes for the number one seed is still open, but they need the 15-5 Laurier Golden Hawks to lose one of their final four games.
“The standings will take care of itself as long as we take care of what we have to take care of,” said Trivedi. “The only thing we’re focusing on now is Waterloo on Wednesday.”
Brock will close the season out with home games against the 3-17 Waterloo Warriors and the Mustangs, followed by a trip to play the Lakehead Thunderwolves for two — the Thunderwolves currently ride a five-game win streak.
If the Badgers defence, rebounding and depth can remain consistent for the remainder of the season, they’ll likely prove a lot of doubters wrong come playoff time.
The offense is motivated behind seniors Johneil Simpson and Cassidy Ryan. Simpson has been averaging 28.7 points over the last seven games, and Ryan over the last eight games has averaged 20 points.
If this is a rejuvenated Badgers team that has started to make the right strides — avoiding slow starts or second half collapses — the momentum shift has come at the right time with playoffs only three weeks away.