By Joel Wass
Jan-Michael Nation made one thing resoundingly clear this weekend: It will take more than a school record to put a smile on his face.
The basketball team’s leading scorer become the university’s all-time point leader with 18 points in a 73-70 loss to Brock University on Friday night.
The next night, Nation came back with 31 points in an 80-78 win over Guelph.
“We [have] a lot of character,” Nation said. “When we push the ball it creates more opportunities. No one is going to stop us. That’s when we’re at our best.”
Against Brock, Nation pushed his career total to 1,154 points — 10 more than Jamie Voskuil, who played at Ryerson from 1983-88. Against Guelph, he finished with 1,185 points, good for 10th on the OUA’s all-time scoring list. He started the season with 906 points.
A humble Nation said he is proud of making Ryerson history, but wishes he could have celebrated his personal achievement with a team victory.
“Don’t get me wrong; it’s an honour. But the main goal for me is to win this year,” he said. “I won [in] my first year and now I want these guys to experience what it’s like.”
Nation increased his lead in the record books Saturday by netting 31 points, a season high, against Guelph’s big front court.
“You can call it little man syndrome,” Nation said. “I’m not backing down from those guys. We’re not backing down from anybody.”
The weekend’s clutch performance belonged to Errol Fraser. He was knocked out for an operation on his wisdom teeth on Thursday and by game time on Friday he was still feeling the effects of the surgery.
“I was really drowsy from all the medication,” says Fraser. “I was on Tylenol 3 and some other stuff with long names that I can’t even remember.”
Fraser scored 21 points against the Gryphons, including two crucial free throws while receiving serious verbal jabs from Guelph’s leading scorer and talker Kyle Julius.
“He was saying, ‘You’re nothing; you’re a scrub,’ Well a scrub just went and hit two shots on him,” said a confident Fraser.
Fraser’s big baskets gave the Rams a four-point lead with less than 20 seconds to play and sealed the team’s victory. It also sent a predominantly pro-Guelph crowd home unhappy.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Fraser’s performance is that it came a day after he coughed up the ball in the dying second of Friday’s 73-70 home loss to Brock University.
“I definitely had something to prove,” Fraser said.
This weekend they play Laurentian University and uptown rivals York University.
Both weekend games have an 8 p.m. start time.