Nation does “Air Canada” impression

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By Noah Love

Men’s basketball team thrills a handful of fans with a nail-biting victory at ACC.

You’d think it was a Raptors game: a basketball team walks into the Air Canada Centre and wins with last second dramatics by their scoring hero.

But this was a Ryerson Rams game.

Last Tuesday, the team played their first game of the Raptors Cup series against the George Brown College and won 78-77.

With George Brown leading by one with eight seconds left, Jan Michael Nation stormed down the court and layed the ball in with 1.6 seconds remaining for the victory, to the delight of six Rams’ fans and the dismay of about 30 Huskies fans.

Nation did it all during the game. He finished 23 points which included a one-handed dunk and the game winner. He was, not surprisingly, named Ryerson’s MVP.

Still, he was critical of his performance in the contest.

“I think I let the team down defensively,” said Nation, an OUA east second team all-star last season. “Right now we have to be more consistent, but that will come with playing more games.”

The game started at 9:45 p.m., following the Toronto Raptors exhibition victory against the Chicago Bulls. Players for both teams watched the game before hitting the court, but weren’t treated to food.

“Some of us hadn’t eaten all day,” said head coach Terry Haggerty, following Monday night’s practice in the Kerr Gym. “I think both teams were just starving.”

Both played like hungry animals. Each drove to the basket with reckless abandon. For the Rams, this led to 32 turnovers, compared to 18 for the Huskies.

Ryerson had a difficult time stopping speedy point guard Dion Horsford, who netted 21 for George Brown.

But the Rams got another solid performance from six-foot-nine forward Jon Reid, who had 16 points and seven rebounds in the contest.

Ryerson continues to move away from the outside shooting game they employed with reasonable success last year. Against the Huskies, Rams took three shots from outside the three point line and missed them all.

In the Raptors Cup, Ryerson and the York University Yeomen play colleges around Toronto. The tournament concludes in mid-January.

The college teams usually have a tough time competing with the two university squads, but the Huskies were not intimidated by the revamped Rams line-up.

“The teams go up and down [in quality],” said Haggerty. “We probably would have played better against them if we hadn’t turned over the ball so much.”

Ryerson play two games at the Air Canada Centre this week, and then a tournament at Wilfred Laurier University this weekend. The Rams will then lay off game action intil their season opener at the University of Western Ontario on Nov. 9.

The coaching staff will host a training camp where they will try and further develop the team’s chemistry.

“Most of these guys have played a year or two here and there,” said Haggerty. “They just haven’t played together. Right now we’re working toward a strong playoff performance.”

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