By Gabriel Lee
Six games into the new season, the 2-4 Ryerson men’s basketball team looks like they will be unable to fulfill their lofty pre-season expectations.
Out of their four losses, three of them have been by 10 points or more. Their one win on the year was a 68-66 nail-biter over the Guelph Gryphons.
Friday night’s 83-66 loss at the hands of the Windsor Lancers is a microcosm of the Rams season so far: their offence looked out of sync, they were beat to almost every loose ball and they were outplayed at every position besides at the point guard.
The Rams were in tough against the tenth ranked team in the nation, however, the result of this game looked inevitable after five minutes. The two teams traded buckets early on, before Windsor put together a 14-0 run that gave them a 30-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We came out flat,” said head coach Roy Rana. “We were chasing them from behind and we didn’t have enough to get it done in the end.”
The Rams cut the lead to nine with three minutes left in the second quarter. But nine points is as close as they would get.
“We just picked up the tempo and started running and used that to our advantage,” said Rana.
Coming out of halftime trailing by 11 points, the Rams needed to come out strong. Instead Windsor pieced together another run that put the game out of reach.
“In the second half, we came out and just didn’t have the same type of energy,” Rana explained.
When they were able to get on the fast break, Jones and the rest of the Rams were able to score a lot easier than in the half court. The Rams were unable to solve Windsor’s zone defence. Beating Windsor’s defence was a difficult task, due to their guards’ length constantly disrupting the passing lanes.
The Rams’ 22 turnovers on the night is telling of the effectiveness of Windsor’s defence.
“We were sloppy with the ball and they took advantage of it,” said guard Jordon Gauthier, who was responsible for five of those turnovers.
Jahmal Jones, Ryerson’s point guard, was disappointed with his team’s defensive effort. He notes that getting stops on defence and rebounding the basketball is imperative to getting out in transition: “if we don’t get stops, it gives them time to set up on defence,”he said.
At one point in the fourth quarter the Rams’ defence appeared to give up completely after a missed perimeter shot from a Ryerson player was converted into an uncontested two handed slam dunk on the other end of the floor.
“We just didn’t defend, it really hurt the way we lost it shouldn’t have been like that,” said Jones.
The lack of depth on the Rams’ roster due to their injuries was exposed again; as Jones had to shoulder the brunt of the offensive load (18 points and 6 assists) and log major minutes (35).
But injuries can’t be blamed for how the Rams who were in uniform didn’t perform tonight.
On paper, the Rams have an easier matchup saturday night at home against the Western Mustangs (1-4). But on paper, the Rams were also supposed to be a legitimate contender for the OUA title.
Saturday night Ryerson got back into the win column by defeating the Mustangs 87-76, led by Jelane Pryce’s 20 points.
NOTES: Adding to their extensive list of injuries guard Afeworki Gebrekerestos appeared to have injured his left shoulder while running into an off-ball screen;“I hope to play tomorrow,” he told the Eye Opener after Friday’s game. And on saturday, reserve center Greg Kieran suffered a lower body injury and didn’t return to the game. Despite the lopsided loss to Windsor, the Rams won the second quarter 18-13 and the fourth quarter 20-17. Logan “Cinderella Man” Marrast made his home debut friday night finishing with three points in four minutes.