Waterloo’s McIntyre is too much to overcome for Ryerson

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TORONTO, ON – Wayne Bridge had the ball on the baseline and needed to make a pass to a teammate, threw it to Cam McIntyre, but the referee blew his whistle: five-second violation, turnover and Ryerson ball.

But in one motion, fifth-year McIntyre caught the ball, turned away to get back on defense and flicked the ball toward the basket. Just for the sake of it, it seemed.

It didn’t count, but the ball did go in. And that’s precisely the point.

On a night where their star player scored 31 points, the Waterloo Warriors defeated the Ryerson Rams at Kerr Hall Gym by the score of 96-91. Waterloo lived and died-but mostly lived-with the three-point shot all game, connecting on 16 of 26 attempts. “We can shoot the ball, we know we can shoot the ball,” Waterloo head coach Tom Kieswetter said. “It just turns out that we scored more than they did.”

Ryerson head coach Roy Rana chose the glass-half-full approach, telling NPH that his team did a lot of things very well. “We out-rebounded them by 13, we had more possessions than them… statistically in almost every category we were up,” he said. “But when a team shoots 16-of-26 on three pointers, it’s hard to win.”

The main culprit was McIntyre, but more on him shortly.

In the first quarter, Ryerson jumped to a 7-2 lead, but the Warriors responded with runs of their won. At the buzzer, Waterloo led 21-18 in a contested first quarter. The two teams traded baskets to open the second quarter before, with Ryerson leading 24-23, the Warriors started to heat up and built a 39-24 advantage. McIntyre, third-year Bridge and second-year players Zach Angelini and Mike Wright all hit multiple three-point shots in the first twenty minutes.

The score was 51-38 for Waterloo at halftime, and the Rams had to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

It’s tough enough to overcome a deficit, but try doing so without a full lineup. Indeed, Ryerson’s injury woes continued and, by now, are almost a given. “We have to focus on the positives,” said Rana. “It’s not an easy thing for the guys mentally, to know we have three really important guys out. We have to fight through our injuries and we have to fight through adversity.”

The latest Rams player to fall was promising rookie Aaron Best who had fared well the previous night in a start against the veteran Laurier Golden Hawks. He didn’t play against the Warriors, because of an ankle injury. “Aaron (Best) will be six weeks in a boot and then begins rehabilitation,” Rana explained. “He’s looking at a late-January return.”

Three would-be starters-Bjorn Michaelsen and newcomers Greg Osawe and Best-are out for the foreseeable future. “This year it’s a little bit of a horror movie right now,” Rana said. This puts more pressure on returning players like Jordon Gauthier, Luke Staniscia and Ola Adegboruwa. And of course, Jahmal Jones.

The second-year point guard is playing better than ever so far in this short season, averaging 28 points over the first two games. “(Jones) was absolutely phenomenal,” said Rana. “He was the best player on the floor.”

The game was a duel between two of the best scorers in the CIS, Ryerson’s Jones and Waterloo’s McIntyre. The former played the full game and led his team with 30 points while nobody had more than McIntyre’s 31 points in 38 minutes of play.

As Waterloo newcomer Greg Filgiano said, “There’s only so much you can do to stop Cam (McIntyre), right?”

The Warriors didn’t let up in the third quarter and built a 22-point lead midway. Ryerson answered the run, but still trailed by 15 points after the third, 75-60. McIntyre was at the centre of everything that Waterloo did as he scored nine points, giving him 29 at that point.

His effort didn’t go unnoticed with his teammates. “(McIntyre) is unbelievable,” Filgiano said. “He’s a tremendous shooter, he’s a tremendous passer, he’s a great teammate, and he’s a great guy.”

After the game, Kieswetter praised the play of the Rams players, especially Jones for whom he had no answer on defense. “They’re a good team and boy are they explosive!” Kieswetter said. “Jones is an amazing player. You need three guys to guard him.”

In the fourth quarter, Ryerson slowly chipped away at the Waterloo lead behind second-year Jelane Pryce’s strong play. The Rams finally broke in with a Jones lay-up following a turnover that put the score at 80-72 for Waterloo. Just like that, Ryerson was within single digits and in a tight contest in the fourth quarter. The Rams didn’t stop there, pulling to within five points after a three-point shot from third-year Afeworki Gebrekerestos.

Suddenly, Ryerson was the team taking and draining the important shots but just when it seemed like Waterloo might unravel, Angelini stepped up with a timely three-point shot-what else. “That was a huge shot,” Kieswetter said. “We were all holding our breath.”

Brendan Smith then made another basket for Waterloo and Ryerson trailed by 10 points again. The closest the Rams would come was three points, with only 13 seconds left.

By then, Waterloo would win if they made their foul shots-which they didn’t do so well, missing on five of six from the charity stripe at that point. Rana explained that, “We didn’t give up… and we never stopped right until the buzzer.”

Waterloo is a very young team this season, as only Bridge, McIntyre and Smith aren’t first- or second-year players. Finding a way to win close games might be a challenge this season, and Kieswetter was thrilled to see his team answer the call. He said that, “These are the kind of games that we’re going to end up playing a lot.”

Offensively, McIntyre (31), Bridge (19), Angelini (14), Mike Wright (12) and Brendan Smith (12) all scored in double figures for the Warriors.

The relentless and unpredictable fourth quarter made for a great basketball game, though don’t ask Kieswetter. “Both teams couldn’t stop the other team,” he said. “It was an entertaining and exciting game, but not a coaches’ game.”

Filgiano loved the game, however, saying it “was a lot of fun.”

Jones (30) led the way for Ryerson while Pryce (15), Jordon Gauthier (14) and Nem Stankovic (10) also had good scoring nights. “Right now, we have to focus on the process,” Rana said. “I’m proud of the way we competed.”

That starts next weekend when Ryerson travels to Guelph and Lakehead to open its away season. Meanwhile, the Warriors travel back to Waterloo where they will host RMC and Queen’s. They’ll look to match their shooting effort of this game against the Rams.

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