Rams get mixed results with revamped lineup
By Noah Love
The men’s basketball team lost to the best then beat the okay.
The Rams lost their season opener against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs 89-74 on Friday night. On Saturday, they came back to beat the Windsor University Golden Hawks 69-65.
“I think we played better against Western,” said head coach Terry Haggerty, now in his 21st season with Ryerson. “We forced them to turn the ball over 21 times. Windsor was a straightforward defensive game.”
The Rams and the Golden Hawks traded the lead for the duration of the match before Ryerson pulled away in the final minutes.
“They were up by five or six points with three minutes to play,” Haggerty said. “Then they didn’t score in the last three minutes and were forced to foul us when we went ahead.”
Offensively, the Rams were led by Jan Michael Nation who had 15 points, and Jon Reid who chipped in 13. The six-foot-nine Reid was also a force on defense, collecting 11 rebounds.
“We played hard but we didn’t play well,” Reid said after an exhausting workout in the Kerr gym. “The effort was there.”
Reid, a former OUA all-star with the University of Toronto Blues, used the preseason to get his fitness level back up to OUA league play standards.
“It’s been getting easier and easier,” he said.
Haggerty used the entire roster against Windsor. The Rams have a 15 players squad but can only dress 12 for league games.
“We’re constantly re-evaluating the lineup,” Haggerty said.
The Rams 15-point loss to Western, the second-ranked team in Canada, wasn’t an ideal way to open the season. The point spread will not hurt the team down the road because the Mustangs are in the OUA west.
The top six teams in the OUA east division make playoffs. Point spread determines tie-breakers for teams with the same league record at the end of the season.
“Western was expected to win. We would’ve been a bit happier to steal that game, but we’re happy with the split,” Haggerty said.
Rookie guard Errol Fraser was the most consistent player on the Ryerson roster this weekend. He had 30 points in the two games, leading the Rams in scoring with 19 on Friday night.
“I have a lot to work on,” Fraser said. “I could be more aggressive on defense. Offensively, the ball feels good coming off my hands.”
Ryerson’s home openers are this weekend. On Friday night, the Rams play another OUA west team, the McMaster University Marauders. The Hamilton-based team were consistently in the top five of the national rankings last season.
The Marauders are coming off a 1-1 opening weekend. They won at the University of Ottawa. They won at the University of Ottawa on Friday and lost to Carleton University, the third-ranked team in Canada, on Saturday.
“McMaster aren’t as senior as they were last year,” Haggerty said. “They’ll still have a good lineup, but a lot of teams are about the same this year. There was a lot of splits last weekend.”
Playing teams like Western and McMaster is a new experience for most of the players on the Rams’ squad. The OUA east previously played schools in Quebec, not the ones in Ontario west.
“Not once have I played MAC,” said Reid, who had three years of OUA experience under his belt. “I’ve never even seen these teams play. This is all new to me.”