Saturday, 8 March 2008

OUA Play-in Game: Badgers hope to halt Gee-Gees

An interesting matchup between teams with arguably two of the better first fives in the CIS, although the Badgers maybe go a bit deeper. Both teams have dominant guards in 5'10" Brad Rootes for Brock and 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe for Ottawa and, while the Badgers probably have a more well-rounded array of perimeter shooters, the Gee-Gees likely have more athleticism and size, making for an intriguing matchup in which both teams could look to exploit opponent's perceived weaknesses. Led by the table-setting Rootes, who can beat you off the dribble or pull up from behind the arc, Brock may have the best and most clutch pure point guard in the CIS. Many times this season with the Badgers wilting at key moments of big games, Rootes was able to turn things around with a slick transition look, a big three or an acrobatic take to the rim to turn games around. Rootes will be a load offensively. Fellow guard 6'0" Scott Murray is a threat from behind the arc, especially in transition showing the savvy to find the blind spots in the converting "d" and knowing that Rootes will deliver when right. Badgers 6'2" Mike Kemp was deservingly named OUA West Defensive Player-of-the-Year and did a stellar job on Gibson-Bascombe when the teams met on the final day of the first half of the season in St. Catharines in a game won by Brock, knocking Ottawa from the ranks of the undefeated, pulling away in the final 8 minutes for an 83-72 victory. Since that game, 6'7" Owen White has reasserted himself offensively to where he is beginning to draw double teams, opening up the perimeter for Brock's array of talented shooter and 6'8" Michael Muir has joined the Badgers, giving them much depth up front along with 6'7" Dusty Bianchin, who went 5 for 6 for 11 points and added 9 rebounds in the last meeting against Ottawa. Bianchin is capable of consistently making the 15 footer when left open. The health of Brock's 6'3" Rohan Steen, who was a Gee-Gee killer two season's ago when, as a member of the York Lions, he was a big contributor in York's upset playoff win knocking Ottawa out of Nationals contention. Steen, it is rumoured, is playing with a broken foot and has seen fewer minutes than he likely would normally down the stretch but nonetheless can knock down big shots when left open, although likely is no where near 100% on the defensive end; when right, he can defend at a Mike Kemp-like level. Brock's ability to create off the dribble and finish was one of the determining factors in the game the last time these two teams met, notwithstanding Kemp's great effort on Gibson-Bascombe and a high turnover game by the Gee-Gees. Ottawa's inability to guard the basketball has plagued them defensively virtually all season long and against a Brock team with several players who can get to the rim, this will be tested again. 6'9" Dax Dessureault struggled with foul trouble in the last meeting between these two teams, playing only 16 minutes but scored 17 points. Badger forward White was able to go off for a game-high 21 points and Dessureault's ability to stay on the floor and show why he was named OUA East Defensive Player-of-the-Year will be key. Gibson-Bascombe was hounded into only 3-15 shooting including 0-5 from 3 by the OUA West Defensive Player-of-the-Year in Kemp; G-B did have 7 assists but also turned it over 5 times, part of the season-high 21 turnovers committed by the Gee-Gees that night. 2nd team OUA East All-star 6'3" Sean Peter led all scorers that night with 22 points on 10-13 shooting but for Ottawa to have any chance to win today, guarding the ball, controlling Rootes, not fouling (committed 24 fouls and allowed Brock to shoot 32 free throws last time), taking care of the ball and making free throws is required. The game is available on the Internet via Streaming Sports Network

St.Catharines Standard article Ottawa or bust for Badgers Brock Press also has a nice piece on Scott Murray and Head Coach Ken Murray Coach's son: The priviledge and the pressure Finally Brock Press has an article on last week's win by Unranked Western over Brock

The Gee-Gees perspective after last week's loss at Carleton by Ben Myers of the Fulcrum, Ottawa's campus newspaper

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