The marquee matchup’s first half saw the Badgers dominate early, with Johneil Simpson (Toronto, Ont.) living up to his team leading performance, sinking threes consistently. This gave the Badgers a strong early advantage, maintaining 10-point leads throughout the first quarter. As Brock began to make more errant passes in the offensive zone, the Rams started to inch back into the fray as Mukama consistently put up points in tough situations.
The second quarter saw Tanor Ngom (Dakar, Senegal) come alive offensively and defensively, regularly adding points to his strong play as the Rams fought to a tie. After the Badgers attempted another runaway, Myles Charvis (Mississauga, Ont.) charged to the net to tie again. In the dying seconds of the half, Filip Vujadinovic (Burlington, Ont.) turned a steal into a basket to give the Rams a 36-35 lead into halftime.
As the game entered the second half, Cassidy Ryan (Mississauga, Ont.) took over. The senior forward would put up a game high of 32 points and was a thorn in the Rams’ side closing the game. Running on high momentum in three point shots, the Badgers pulled away but the Rams clawed back by the end of the third quarter to head into the final frame down 50-53.
Catching up and surpassing the Badgers with a Charvis three and five minutes remaining, both teams were caught in a battle of missed free throw opportunities. After a final shot was ruled no good, the game went into overtime. More free throw opportunities sailed shy of their mark, on both sides, and Brock would eventually sneak away with the 80-75 win.
Despite the loss, the atmosphere in the Mattamy Athletic Centre was positively electric as diehard fans of both programs overflowed the arena in both numbers and school pride. Both teams were met with thunderous applause on every play, showcasing the best of OUA basketball both on the court and in the stands.
Having competed so closely with the U SPORTS top 10 number two ranked Badgers, the number 10 ranked Rams will look to do one better and get their first win at home on Friday while hosting the McMaster Marauders.