ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Basketball coaches often wax poetic about putting their teams in a 'position to win.'
Well not only did the Brock Badgers men's basketball team do just that Saturday night, but they did it in the first 10 minutes of their Ontario University Athletics Wilson Cup quarter-final game against Wilfrid Laurier.
The Badgers outscored the Laurier Golden Hawks 27-6 in the first quarter and 26-8 in the second en route to a commanding 91-73 win at home. Brock will now host Ryerson in a Wilson Cup semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a trip to the USports National Championships on the line.
In addition to advancing to the OUA Championship game set for Saturday, March 3, both semifinal winners are assured spots at the Nationals in Halifax. It's the position head coach Charles Kissi has been working toward since he arrived at Brock.
"We've worked for five years to put ourselves in this position. Now we have a chance," he said. "This is for a trip to the national championship and our guys know that, so we have to be as sharp as we were in the first half tonight."
As they've come to be known for, the Badgers' success Saturday was the result of its depth. Cassidy Ryan and Johneil Simpson led the team with 23 and 21 points, respectively, but four players had 14 or more points including Dani Elgadi, who hit a three-pointer in the third quarter to move himself into fourth place on Brock's all-time scoring list.
The Badgers shot 60 per cent from the floor while Laurier, led by Ali Sow's 22 points, struggled at 33 per cent. The visitors outscored the Badgers 25-20 in the third quarter and 34-18 in the fourth, but Kissi said that's not a statistic he's worried about.
"No concerns at all. Our job was to win that game by one or more, not 40, and that's all we were doing," he said.
Brock, which finished the regular season ranked third in the country, will now host the eighth-ranked Ryerson Rams, which beat Ottawa 77-69 in their quarter-final Saturday. In the other semifinal, Carleton (ranked first) will host Windsor (unranked).
The Badgers beat Ryerson 80-75 during the regular season, but it was an overtime-nailbiter.
"They're a good team. I feel that we match up pretty well, but it's a chance to go to Halifax so they're going to give us everything and we have to prepare for that," said Simpson. "We won a lot of games during the year, but now you lose one game and you could go home, so you have to treat every game like it's the championship."
Tickets for Wednesday's game are available at Brock's Walker Complex Welcome Desk or by phone at 905-688-5550 ext. 4060. Visit GoBadgers.ca for more information.
Source: Brock Badgers