Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
On Friday Oct. 14, the Brock men’s basketball team played an exhibition match at Canada Games Park, their last exhibition game before the beginning of their regular season. Their Friday night game against the Mount Royal University Cougars was also their first in St. Catharines since Oct. 2, 2022.
The Badger’s preseason games have been a mixed bag thus far. Brock started their season off by dropping three games in a row at home to University of Manitoba, Dalhousie and University of Ottawa in the RBC Classic. They followed up a disappointing showing with a much stronger effort in the Calgary Cup, with wins against University of Calgary and University of Regina and a lone loss to University of British Columbia.
Brock would look to use Friday’s game to work out some kinks and iron out their game against Mount Royal who had yet to win a game throughout four exhibition matches this year.
The Badgers set the tone quickly. They were aggressive on defence, forcing turnovers with quick hands and proactively filling passing lanes, and also on the offensive glass, creating several second-chance opportunities. However, due to missing some open looks, and Mount Royal taking advantage of Brock’s aggression in the form of drawn fouls, it would take some time for Brock to pull away.
Guard Xavier Fearon would help give the team an early spark, with a two-handed jam off the cut and a turnaround jumper for some nice baskets. Power forward Michael Matas was also noticeable on the low block early, presenting himself as an outlet on Brock’s drives and with great footwork around the hole. The team’s efforts would put the Badgers up a comfortable 24-11 after the first quarter, despite an 0-6 start from three.
However, the bad three-ball luck would start to haunt Brock in the second. With none of these open looks falling for the Badgers, the Cougars started to close the score. Mount Royal’s dribble penetration quickly proved to be a problem, getting downhill and drawing fouls, or beating Brock’s defense of baseline drives. Matas would continue his strong play down low and Isaiah Bujdoso would also provide a helping of offence, including Brock’s lone three of the quarter on nine attempts.
Brock started the second half up 42-27, but Mount Royal would quickly shave that lead down to 12 points off an early three-pointer. Brock also could not get much of anything going to start the half with frequent misses and turnovers. The story was set for the rest of the quarter.
Brock continued to struggle with their jump shots, shooting less than 30 per cent from beyond the arc for the third straight quarter, and 3 for 22 so far in the game. Coupled with continued mistakes and turnovers, and strong rim protection by the Cougars, Brock outscored Mount Royal by a basket or less for the second quarter in a row.
Clearly unsatisfied with two mediocre quarters, the Badgers turned their game on in the fourth. Matas continued to feast in the post and Bujdoso led the team from the guard spot.
Brock really began to pull away with around four minutes remaining, with Jesse Barnes getting a stop and a bucket, and Jordan Tchuente getting two stops and two buckets, including a three. Brock’s jumpers finally began to fall in the fourth, going 2-3 from deep in addition to a few deep twos.
Brock won the game 81-56 with Matas leading the way offensively. His 15 points on a very efficient 7-9 shooting led the team.
Brock’s first regular season game is in Toronto on Friday Nov. 4, against University of Toronto, and their home opener is the next day at 8 p.m. against Wilfrid Laurier University in the Bob Davis Gymnasium.
The men’s basketball team’s full schedule and results can be found on gobadgers.ca.