Photo by: Brenden Cowan
After finishing the season 16-6 and being tied for first place in the OUA Central, the Badgers took on the Queen’s’Gaels in a quarter-final do-or-die matchup on Feb. 25. The two are very familiar, meeting each other in the OUA Championship game last year where the Badgers won 95-75 to take home the Wilson Cup.
Brock won the tip-off, getting first possession of the game but, unfortunately, a turnaround jumper from Jevon Brown did not fall and Queen’s stormed down the court, scoring the first bucket of the game just a few possessions later. The Badgers struggled early shooting the ball but their defence made up for it. Three minutes into the game, the score was tied at two’s.
Both teams ramped up the scoring through the next couple of minutes, trading three-pointers to bring it to 10-10 halfway through the first quarter. The rest of the quarter was more of the same; both teams scored at a relatively similar pace with the quarter ending 18-17 for Queens.
The Gaels came out for the second quarter with more urgency than the Badgers, going on a 7-0 run within the first few minutes of the quarter and stretching their lead to nine, 30-21. The bucket from Kascius Small-Martin ended Queen’s run and got the Badger back within seven with just over half of the quarter to play.
Queen’s continued to outscore the Badgers for the remainder of the second quarter and went into the half leading 42-36. Badger Jordan Tcheunte shot 50 per cent from the field, netting nine points, three rebounds and two blocks. While Gaels’ Cole Syllas led Queen’s with 14 points, six rebounds and two assists.
The Badgers needed to pick up the offence if they wanted to get back into the game. But the Gaels’ defence stood tall and kept the Badgers to 19 for the second straight quarter in a row. The Badgers trailed 64-55 with a quarter of play left and their season on the line.
The Badgers went on an 11-0 run to bring them back within one point with just over five minutes to play, with buckets from Tcheunte, Bujdoso and Caldwell during the huge offensive run, 69-68.
The two teams continued to trade buckets down the stretch, with Queen’s widening their lead to five points. With one minute left the Badgers were down 78-74 as Bujsoso carried the ball up the court. On an iso play, Bujdoso drove in, spun around and hit the fadeaway jumper to bring the Gaels’ lead down to two with 33 seconds left.
On the next possession, Queen’s came down the floor trying to kill as much time as possible but an interception by Bujdoso stopped the play. One ref called jump ball, the other called Gaels’ ball and it was decided that it would be Gaels’ ball with 17 seconds left in the game and four seconds on the shot clock. Queen’s inbounded the ball and Michael Kelvin III hit a two-point shot over the Brock defender to put the Gaels back up four, 80-76.
With 17 seconds left, Bujdoso sprinted down the floor right into the paint, putting in the layup. Brock intentionally fouled on the next play with six seconds left but the Queen’s shooter hit both free throws to extend the lead to four. With six seconds left, the Badgers would add two more points at the buzzer but it was not enough to tie the game as it ended 82-80 for Queen’s.
The Badgers lost in the quarter-finals in what could’ve been such a promising season. The three top scorers for the Badgers in the 2022-23 season were Isiah Bujdoso (13.88 PPG, 5.13 REB/G & 4 AST/G), Jordan Tcheunte (11.19 PPG, 8.62 REB/G & 2.83 AST/G) and Godsman Kwakwah (11.05 PPG, 3.81 REB/G & 0.62 AST/G).
To take a deeper look into the Badgers season go to gobadgers.ca and to take a look into the OUA stats look here.