McMaster 80, Brock 69 6’4″ Leon Alexander had 17 of his team-high 28 points after halftime, attacking the rim with reckless abandon and finishing with a variety of creative moves as the Marauders pulled away during a 26-11 ten minute stretch late to clinch the OUA Central and grab hold of #4 seed in OUA RPI-based playoff seeding. 6’3″ Rohan Boney added 16 for Mac, 13 in the first half including a resounding two-hand slam off an aggressive take the rim as Marauders exposed Brock’s lack of a consistent rim protector by not settling. Alexander was at his finest, scoring 10 points during the game-deciding run which included a two-handed hammer of his own. Alexander and Boney combined to shoot 18 for 32 from the field in a tremendous effort by the pair of athletic wings.
The game featured several high-end athletic plays as Brock’s 6’5″ forward Dani Elgadi (game-high 36 points, 12 rebounds) had two in-traffic dunks, the first on a blow-by take to the rim early in the first quarter that ignited the crowd at the Meridian Center that did not look close to being full; Elgadi had Brock’s first 11 points. 6’5″ Johnell Simpson (16 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists but only 5 points after halftime) was also instrumental in keeping Brock to within 3 at the half, knocking down a couple of long 3’s and getting to the rim with a couple of tear-drop finishes but Badgers got little else after their Big Two. Elgadi and Simpson had 30 of Brock 34 first-half points and finished a combined 19 of 40 from the floor – the rest of the Badgers were a collective 5 for 28 as starters Matt Marshall and Ryan Bennett struggled in this playoff-atmosphere game.
While there were several top-end athletic plays/dunks, much of the game was played amid a series of turnovers, missed shots and questionable decisions. The teams shot a combined 5 for 29 from three and had 36 turnovers.
Marauders have a strong first six or seven but lack that knock down shooter that will be required when teams are bigger and longer around the rim. Still, Mac is now in a strong position to gain a first-round bye and host a quarter-final playoff game that could be against Brock depending upon how both teams (and others) finish their season. Both Mac and Brock travel to Guelph Friday and Saturday respectively. The Marauders are solidly in the #4 seed and also remain in the CIS Final 8 wild card hunt so it would be surprising if coach Amos Connolly and group provide anything but their top effort at Guelph on Friday.
The Badgers continue to lament a lack of secondary scoring other than Elgadi and Simpson. 6’7″ Marshall, playing the final home game of his career, plays hard but is simply not strong or athletic enough to draw consistent double downs offensively or impactful enough to deter opponents from attacking the rim. Bennett, while a very good shooter when his feet are set and the ball is delivered off of rotations, struggles when opponents can run him off the three point line. Brock’s point guard play and bench contributions simply did not meet the challenge this evening either.
Lots can still change including if Lakehead hangs on to their playoff spot (at Western and at Windsor; two wins and they clinch), Ryerson will likely jump to the #1 seed (if they can win at York and at Queen’s) while Ottawa would gain #1 seed if Guelph is able to jump over Lakehead – note that Guelph owns the tie-breaker.