Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @CeeeBG & NPH @Northpolehoops
- Enrico Diloreto: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
- Josh Collins: 12 points, 1 rebound, 6 assists, 6 steals
- Jahmal Jones: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
- Luke Staniscia: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
TORONTO, ON-The visiting Windsor Lancers showed why NPH has them ranked at No. 8 in the CIS when they beat the host Ryerson Rams in convincing fashion by the final score of 83-66.
“Doomed from the start” is how Ryerson head coach Roy Rana described the game afterward.
It was “Movember” night at Kerr Hall Gym as fifth-year Ryerson forward Luke Staniscia gave Movember Canada a cheque for $2,662 on behalf of the Rams. Ryerson sponsor Mick E. Fynn’s also attended the game and gave away free t-shirts. Yet, there was little to celebrate for the Ryerson faithful.
That’s because Windsor bounced back after a tough 0-2 weekend and improved their record to 3-2; the Lancers left little doubt as to which team was the better one. Head coach Chris Oliver was pleased with the result, but told NPH after the game that there remain improvements for his Lancers. “It was a good win for us,” Oliver said. “We played pretty good during stretches of the game.”
The first half was a tale of two quarters, and Oliver hated that second quarter. “Coaches are perfectionists,” he said. “There are no perfect games.”
Maybe not, but Windsor came close to playing one.
The teams traded baskets early in the first quarter but third-year Windsor guard Enrico Diloreto hit a three-point shot to give his team a 9-8 lead. Before you knew it, Windsor had gone on a 19-0 run and had the game in hand. Ryerson point guard Jahmal Jones did hit a three-point shot to stop the bleeding, but the damage had been done. Windsor led 30-14 after the first 10 minutes of play and the team wouldn’t relinquish that lead for the entire game-though they came close at one point.
That would be the second quarter, when Windsor’s intensity and effort went down right when the Rams picked up theirs. When second-year Ryerson guard Jordon Gauthier hit a three-point shot with 2-and-a-half minutes to play, Ryerson had cut the Windsor lead to 5 points. The score was 36-31 and everything was going Ryerson’s way. Despite Windsor pushing their lead back to a safe margin at halftime, 43-32, the Rams fans were loud and hopeful for the second half.
Rana wasn’t happy with his team’s effort in the first half. “We came out flat, didn’t have a lot of energy,” he said. “We showed some life in the second (quarter)… We picked up the tempo and started running and played with a lot more energy.”
The Lancers quickly showed why optimism for the second half was silly in the third quarter as they hit nine of 16 shots and padded their lead. After three quarters, Windsor led 66-46, but there would be no response from the Rams. That margin would hold for much of the final quarter.
Windsor is an experienced and versatile team with few weaknesses, and a lack of effort will especially hurt against the Lancers. “I’m disappointed in this one,” Rana said. “We came out in the second half and just didn’t have energy… We made a lot of dumb, sloppy turnovers.”
Yes, the Rams turned the ball over 22 times total compared to Windsor’s total of 13, showing that the chorus stays the same for Ryerson this season: Jones is the focal part of the Rams offense. Rana said that because of injuries, “Our lack of depth is exposed every night.”
When it comes to dealing with Jones, Windsor has an advantage over other teams because third-year forward Lien Phillip has competed with the second-year Ryerson guard this past summer. He gave his teammates an insider report of Jones’s tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. “During the huddles, he told me what (Jones) likes to do, what are his go-to moves,” Windsor rookie Rotimi Osuntola Jr. said.
It proved valuable for Osuntola, who was tasked with defending one of the quicker guards in the CIS in only the fifth game of his young career. “I found ways that I could contribute other than hitting shots,” he said.
Indeed, Osuntola missed seven of his 11 shots, but was good on defense. “Jones is very quick with the ball,” he said. “It helps me play better defense if I know I’m guarding better players.”
Osuntola’s head coach loves how his young player has answered the call so far in this young season, filling a void in the starting lineup. “It’s hard to say that he’s the best rookie in the country or anything like that,” Oliver said, “but he’s up there in the conversation… His potential is huge.”
“Coach is always right,” as Osuntola put it himself.
Offensively, Jones shouldered the load with 18 points, but fifth-year Luke Staniscia (11) and Gauthier (10) all scored in double figures for Ryerson (1-4). The team will look to bounce back when they host the visiting Western Mustangs. The following week, Ryerson travels to Brock and McMaster. “I thought we should have performed better, I thought we would have come with a little bit more hunger,” Rana said. “We’re going to spend the next 24 hours to figure it out and get ready for Western (tonight).”
Diloreto led all scorers with 19 points, but McQueen (15), Collins (12) and Phillip (10) also scored in double figures for the Lancers. The team finishes its away tour of the East division with a visit at Toronto on Saturday night for a game against the Varsity Blues. They close the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule back home, with two games against RMC and Queen’s in a week.
Oliver said that while one win is good, two is better. “When you go on these road trips, it’s not about just one game, it’s about getting the second game too,” he said. “(Toronto)’s hometown advantage is as good as any team’s that I know.”
Photo courtesy of Brian Hastings.