By Gavin Mackenzie
Like a freight train, Ryerson’s men’s basketball team keeps rumbling over anything in its way.
Last weekend, the Rams visited Quebec, making the Laval Rouge et or and Bishop’s Gaiters the latest victims of the Ryerson express.
The Rams steamrolled Laval, 92-81, Friday night. Bishop’s came close to derailing Ryerson on Saturday but were dropped 81-77.
The two victories run the Rams’ winning streak to 15 games and maintain its six-point lead in the OUA-East over the second-place Laurentian Voyageurs.
Ryerson is now three wins away from tying the 35-year-old CIAU record for consecutive wins in a season held by the Waterloo Warriors. Their overall record is 24-3 and they are the third-ranked team in Canada.
Against Bishop’s, Ryerson’s lead hovered around 12 for much of the second half, but was cut to four late in the game. The Ram’s managed to hold off the Gaiter’s surge to hang on for the four-point win. Bill Crowdis led Ryerson scorers with 23 points.
Against Laval the night before, the Rams overcame a nine-point deficit and had a comfortable 15-point lead with 12 minutes to go. Crowdis led Ryerson again, scoring 20 points.
Rams guard Jan-Michael Nation explained how the wins were worth more than just points.
“These wins are character builders,” he said. “We’ve managed to keep our composure when things haven’t been going well on the road.”
This Friday, Ryerson travels to York University to face the 6-6 York Yeomen who beat Ryerson in the final game of the Raptors’ Cup tournament in October.
York head coach Bob Bain says his team isn’t intimidated by the winning Rams.
“Whenever you play a good team you tend to play better, so we’re really looking forward to playing them,” he said.
Saturday, the Rams return home to host Queen’s University in 7-6 Kerr gym at 8 p.m.
Similarly, the women’s team had their confidence boosted on the weekend. But the difference is that they lost their games.
The Rams were dropped by Laval on Friday, 73-67, and were edged by Bishop’s on Saturday 55-54.
But in both games the Rams overcame 16-point deficits in the second half to makes the scores respectable.
Rams guard Miruna Muller said the team showed some guts that weren’t there in past years.
“Even though we were down as the half, [in both games] we battled back,” she said. “If this had happened any other time we would have gone down 30 points.”
Ryerson’s record is now 5-8. They are tied with the University of Ottawa for the fourth and final playoff position in the OUA East division.
Like the men, the women’s team faces York which is 3-9 Friday and then host Queen’s Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Kerr gym.