The Rams beat the Laurentian Voyageurs 70-67 on Jan. 22 to slide into the OUA playoffs. PHOTOS: TOM SAPIANO
By Sean Fitz-Gerald
When you show up for the Ryerson men’s basketball playoff game against the Laurentian Voyageurs Thursday, you might think the Rams look nervous.
If you’ve been following the team at all this year, you might get nervous when you notice the men’s swagger missing. You might even get that gut-rot feeling in the middle of your stomach when you don’t hear them laughing and trash-talking in the early part of the game.
A strange thing happened to the Rams after they got blown out 86-62 by the Voyageurs in Sudbury last Sunday.
It could be the realization the season could end inside York University’s gym tomorrow night. A fear that all the ups and downs of a season could end with a whimper might have hit the guys.
After watching the team practice hard Monday, without their typical happy-go-lucky demeanour, and after hearing them speak, your gut may stop aching. They’re just getting down to business.
“We know we can beat these guys, we already have,” second-year centre Sasha Ivankovic said. Ivankovic played just more than half of the game in Sudbury, but still managed to grab 10 rebounds and score 13 points.
When the two teams first met on Jan. 22, Laurentian was beaten 70-67 by an aggressive and hungry Ryerson team. The Rams that lost last Sunday were an injured, tired and ill bunch at best.
Speaking through a phlegm-infested chest cold after practice Monday, Rams head coach Terry Haggerty seemed almost eager to play the team seeded top in the east.
“We’ve achieved our first major goal, which is to get there. We didn’t care about match-ups. I don’t think Carleton is easier than Laurentian,” he said.
“We just have to make sure they’re rested,” he said, keeping a safe distance from his players to avoid a team-wide contamination. “This is also mid-terms for us.”
An unusually quiet Ben Gorham left practice with his share of aches and pains. The rookie forward was afraid he was coming down with the same bug that was ravaging his coach.
“I haven’t really thought about it, but technically our season could end on Thursday. But I don’t think so. I think they know that we have more than we showed yesterday,” he said.