Record crowd witnesses Badgers knock off undefeated Ryerson

So electric was the atmosphere inside the Meridian Centre Friday night the Brock Badgers fans could have powered the building by themselves.A record crowd of 3,018 packed the downtown St. Catharines sports complex to watch a basketball doubleheader against the Ryerson RamsIt was the third time the Brock men’s and women’s basketball teams have played in the Meridian Centre, and the huge crowd showed their support both in the stands and on social media, where the event’s #PaintMeridianRed hashtag was trending across Canada on Twitter after 8 p.m.On the court, the women’s team dropped a 92-75 decision to the Rams, while the men pulled off a huge upset to beat the previously undefeated Rams 74-65.Men’s coach Charles Kissi credited the boisterous crowd with helping his team win.“What an outstanding crowd. Our guys thrive on that,” he said. “I give the fans the win.”Kissi said the win over the No. 4-ranked Rams shows how good the No. 6-ranked Badgers can be.“We’re back on track. We stumbled in a couple of games, but we’re now back up and running,” he said. “Three games now we’ve held teams to 65 points. That’s who we are and what we need to continue to do in order to get where we’re trying to go.”While the Badgers women didn’t get the win Friday night, the fans who showed up early enough to catch their game were treated to a hard-fought battle.Among those in the crowd to watch the Badgers women were around 200 youth basketball players, including numerous girls teams who Brock coach Ashley MacSporran hopes left the arena inspired.“Niagara has tremendous girls basketball and it hasn’t necessarily been tapped as much with Brock,” MacSporran said. “I want to make sure that we’re a resource and it’s an outreach. We’re making sure we go to their games or they come to our practices or play at our halftimes. It’s really important that our girls are ambassadors to them.” [View the story “Brock Paints the Meridian Red” on Storify]

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