Young Rams Show Character and Poise
TORONTO, ON – Despite early injuries to three players, the Ryerson Rams started their regular season on a good note, beating the visiting McMaster Marauders by a final score of 75-70.
“Obviously when you lose three guys who are that important, it’s great to be able to show some fortitude,” says Ryerson head coach, Roy Rana.
The three players out due to injuries – starters Ryan McNeilly and Bjorn Michaelsen and forward Matthew Lapointe – were lost by the end of the first quarter and forced Rana to adjust his lineup and tactics on the fly. By then, the Rams trailed the Marauders 22-13.
McMaster held the lead for most of the game, behind strong play from two of their guards. Rookie Kenan Etale carried the Marauders early, with 13 quick points; he was especially dangerous from the three-point line, making four of six shots.
Third-year guard Scott Laws was the Marauders’ best player with a team-high 20 points that he often scored by overpowering his defender on his way to the basket.
“In this league, the parity is so strong (that) it really comes down to winning games in the fourth quarter,” says Rana.
Ryerson did just that, outscoring McMaster 23-12 in the final quarter and getting back the lead in the final two minutes, on a three-point basket from Ryerson rookie Jelane Pryce.
“It was those little plays in the fourth quarter that did it for us,” says Rana.
In his first game for the Rams, point guard Jahmal Jones played all forty minutes of the game, scoring a game-high 24 points and winning player of the game honors. Ten of his points came from the charity stripe, as McMaster repeatedly fouled him on drives to the basket.
“I started to adjust and use my quickness and speed to get advantages,” says Jones. Rana had good words for the first-year player, who he says is “a very special talent.”
Neither team shot the ball very well, which led to opportunities for easy baskets in the transition. This is where Rams guard Ola Adegboruwa, who might be the most explosive player on the team, shined.
“It’s not pretty; at times it looks very raw, but (Ola) stuffs the stats sheet. He’s a winner, he just competes and finds ways,” says Rana of the third-year transfer player.
For their next game against the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the Rams will face a difficult test. “Since we’re a small team, we need to be physical, smart and mentally tough,” says Jones.
Ryerson will also likely need a similar balanced attack where four players scored at least 13 points against McMaster. The Thunderwolves return a veteran lineup that won the West division last season, along with the OUA Bronze medal.
Meanwhile, the McMaster Marauders will look to rebound when they visit the Toronto Varsity Blues. Both contests get under way at 8h p.m. on Saturday, November 5.