After playing six of their first seven games at home this season, the Badgers finally hit the road for a pair of games against the Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Voyageurs. Heading into the game against Nipissing, the Lakers sat at 3-4, but had upset the then-ninth best team in the country, the Western Mustangs, earlier in the month.
The Badgers — who have given up big leads late in games this season — never trailed once, completing the start-to-finish win by a score of 83-74. The Badgers were led by a career-high 30 points from fifth-year point guard Tyler Brown, who did so off of 11-21 shooting, including 7-9 from the free throw line.
The foursome of Brown, Daniel Cayer, Godsman Kwakwah and Kascius Small-Martin once again did most of the damage, combining for 77 of the teams’ 83 points. Cayer recorded a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double, Kwakwah added 17 and eight, while Small-Martin tacked on 16 and five.
The Lakers wasted an incredible game from their centre, Justin Shaver, who put up a season-best 24 points and 15 rebounds off an extremely efficient 8-11 shooting, including 6-8 from deep. Aside from Shaver, the Badgers held the Lakers to just 17-48 shooting.
The Badgers were in for a much tougher task the following night, as they had to deal with a No. 10 Voyageurs team that features the best U Sports player in Canada, Kadre Gray. In this his fourth season, Gray’s previous three have gone like this: 2016-17; 23.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, OUA and U Sports Rookie of the Year. 2017-18; 24.4/8.0/7.0, OUA and U Sports MVP. 2018-19; 31.0/5.9/7.4, OUA and U Sports MVP. He also put up back-to-back games this preseason of 40 and 51.
Safe to say it would be a long night for the Badgers. The Voyageurs dropped a season-worst 99 points on the Badgers, led by Gray who scored 29 along with six rebounds and nine assists. Small-Martin scored a season-best 23 points, but did so on 23 shots. Cayer added 18 and 10, Kwakwah added 18 and five. Tyler Brown had a rough shooting night (3-15), but did manage to dish out 11 assists.
During the game Gray also become Laurentian’s all-time leading scorer, with 1755 career points.
According to U Sports basketball writer Martin Timmerman, Gray sits 16th on the all-time U Sports scoring list (recently graduated Badger Johneil Simpson is 14th), but has played the least games out of anybody in the top-95 with just 68. If Gray averages roughly 25 points a game for the rest of this season and next (assuming he plays a fifth year), then it is very realistic for Gray to become U Sports’ all-time leading scorer. The current leader is Javon Masters, who scored 2507 points for the University of New Brunswick from 2013-18.
The No. 10 Voyageurs improved to 8-1, while another weekend split puts Brock once again at just a game over .500 (5-4).
The Badgers will travel to Hamilton to take on the No. 7 Marauders tomorrow night. The Badgers lost to McMaster earlier this season by two points. This will be their final game before the winter break.