Brock Badgers stunned in U Sports men’s basketball championship
Published April 1, 2022 at 5:43 pm
The Brock Badgers wound up on the wrong end of April madness.
Seeded No. 1 at the U Sports men’s basketball championship, the Badgers were defeated 77-73 by the No. 8 seed Saskatchewan Huskies at the Savile Sports Centre in Edmonton on Friday (April 1). Brock climbed out of an early 16-point hole, thanks in large part fifth-year guard T.J. Lall and savvy fourth-year Kascius Small-Martin, who put up 26 and 23 points respectively.
However, the Huskies, who were led by 19 points from Marquavian Stephens, owned the pivotal moments, in becoming the first No. 8 seed to advance in the tournament since 2007. On a broken play with a minute left, Stephens picked up the ball on the right wing and sank a game-tying triple to level at 69-69.
Brock took the lead two more times. But Saskatchewan’s Chad De Ciman seized on a blown defensive coverage to slice to the basket for a hoop-and-the-harm three-point play with 34.6 seconds left. Stephens, further distancing himself from a missed breakaway dunk earlier in the fourth quarter, got the game-winner on a slashing drive to the hoop with 4.6 seconds left.
Stephens knocked away the Badgers’ ensuing inbound pass to Lall, and the Huskies sealed the win with free throws.
“This is nothing new,” Stephens told CBC Sports. “We have been here all playoffs. Brock’s a great team and we were able to set the tone with our fast-paced game at the start.”
The Badgers earned the No. 1 seed after going 21-1 overall and winning the Wilson Cup, the Ontario University Athletics title, during a season that was stretched out due to COVID-19 safety measures. They also led OUA with 93.1 points per game, while Saskatchewan was mid-table in the Canada West in both defensive and offensive efficiency.
On paper, that might have screamed mismatch. On the court, Brock was fighting the current the whole way. They did not take a lead until Lall, who had a game-most 26 points, rattled in a triple in the final seconds of the third quarter.
The Badgers will finish this season with one or two games on the consolation side of the tournament.
Saskatchewan will face the Queen’s Gaels, a first-time tournament team, in one semifinal on Saturday. The winners of the McGill-Alberta and Carleton-Victoria games that are later Friday will meet in the other semi.
Early tip-off for women’s basketball Badgers
At the women’s basketball championship in Kingston, Brock and the rival Rams will play the early semifinal at 3 p.m. on Saturday (available at CBC Gem and cbcsports.ca).
The teams met seven days earlier in the Critelli Cup, the OUA championship. Brock lost 72-70 after leading by 22 points earlier in the fourth quarter. The downtown Toronto-based Rams have accounted for two of the Badgers’ three losses this season.
The winner meets either Winnipeg or Queen’s in the final at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The bronze-medal game is also at 3 p.m. that day.
The Badgers have the most recent U Sports medal of the four remaining teams with their silver at the 2020 tournament.
Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton players help Rams upset UNB
Oakville native Domenico Commisso scored the winning goal in the Rams’ massive University Cup upset in Wolfville, N.S.,on Friday.
The Rams, playing in the national championship for the first time, stunned the juggernaut University of New Brunswick Reds 2-1 in a quarterfinal in Wolfville, N.S.. The Toronto squad will play in a 6 p.m. semifinal on Saturday against either Trois-Rivières or British Columbia, who played later on Friday.
Boy, what a moment at the U Cup today in Wolfville, NS.
#7 Ryerson knock off the AUS Champs at UNB and are off to the final four with Alberta + StFX. UBC vs UQTR still to go later tonight.
U Cup hockey always delivers. https://t.co/APEpD1qHYP
— Victor Findlay (@Victor_Findlay) April 1, 2022
Commisso buried a power-play goal early in the second period to stake the Rams to a two-goal cushion. With Mississauga Steelheads alumnus Jared Walsh and Mississauga natives Ryan Wells and Mark Shoemaker toiling on blue line, the Rams held off a Reds comeback despite being outshot 36-18. Walsh has regularly had 30-minute workloads during the Rams’ playoff run.
New Brunswick has been a predominant power in university puck for two decades, winning five of the last nine University Cups.
The Rams lineup also includes three forwards from Peel Region — Brampton natives Jeremiah Addison and Elijah Roberts and Mississauga native Patrick Fellows.
Alberta and St. Francis Xavier face off at 12 noon in the early semifinal. The championship game is at 6:30 p.m..
The Rams are the first OUA team since 2015 to play in the semis. The Western Mustangs won a quarterfinal at the 2020 tournament that was cancelled after one day due to COVID-19. Prior to Friday, OUA teams had lost 13 consecutive games in U Cup tournaments that were completed.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising