Familiar faces yield familiar results for Rams
By Noah Love
For Rams’ guard Hakeem Baiyewu, Friday night’s 68-65 win against the University of Toronto was more than a team victory. It also meant bragging rights over his younger brother, Varsity Blues guard Dayo Baiyewu.
The brothers (Hakeem is 23, Dayo is 21) have played each other twice this season. The Rams beat the Blues on both occasions.
“Well, growing up we had a pretty intense rivalry,” Hakeem said after Monday’s practice. “When we play [Toronto], I’m looking to play my best.”
He got a chance, playing a season high 28 minutes. In the end, Hakeem finished with four points and two rebounds. Dayo played only nine minutes off the bench for the Varisty Blues. He scored two points and had two rebounds.
“If I’m playing well on defence, my offense usually gets better,” Hakeem said. “I’m looking to do more on the offensive side of the ball, but I’m taking it day by day I’m happy with the way I’m playing, but there’s always room for improvement. I’m hoping to hit my peak around playoff time.”
Hakeem said he hasn’t gotten anything out of his brother for either victory.
“We’ve beaten them twice now, and he still hasn’t bought me dinner for the first time, but his room isn’t too far from mine and I could just go and take something from it.”
Forward Jon Reid enjoyed a different type of homecoming.
Reid played for Toronto from 1997-99 and was an OUA east all-star. Friday night was the first time playing on his home court in a Rams jersey. Was the 6-foot-9 forward worried about revisiting the Blues’ athletics facility?
“Not really,” said Reid during a shootaround with Errol Fraser. “I played with about of those guys, so I knew what to expect. They played aggressively for the whole game and that gave us trouble for a bit. Our defence improved during the game.”
Reid was more concerned with a viral infection that has hurt his game for the last three weeks.
“I’ve been sick for a while,” he said. “I’ve been taking medication, but I’ve had trouble breathing for the last four games. I’m hoping that will go away.”
The game against Toronto started poorly for the Rams. The Varsity Blues took a ten point lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. Ryerson took too many fouls and had trouble hitting their shots. After a couple of Ryerson scoring strings, the teams entered the half tied 34-34.
In the second half, the Rams took a lead and stayed ahead for the rest of the game.
“We played an okay game and that was enough to win,” said head coach Terry Haggerty. “We kept pulling away and they kept pulling back. We played well enough defensively to keep them from getting ahead.”
Jan-Michael Nation scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the victory, which Haggerty credited to a solid defensive effort at the end of the game.
“It was a game where both teams didn’t really [shoot] well, but down the stretch they had a lot of trouble. I don’t think they scored in the last four and a half minutes or so.”
On Sunday, Ryerson travelled to Kingston, Ont., to play the Queen’s University Golden Gaels. The Gaels have two wins this season, and did not add to that total after 87-75 loss to the Rams.
Nation scored a game-high 25 points. Reid had 20 and Fraser scored 16.
“Queen’s [is] a small team, so we had to adjust to that,” Reid said. “We didn’t execute our shots very but we played hard for the whole game and that’s all you can ask for. As long as the effort’s there, that’s what counts.”
The Rams record is 8-4. They are a half game behind second-place York, which is 9-4.
“The bottom line is we got two wins on the road,” Haggerty said. “We want one of those first round byes. First or second [place] will do it. We could take second next weekend.”
The basketball season is half over. With 10 games left on the schedule, Haggerty says everything is in its right place.
“The OUA is looking pretty much the way everybody thought it would. Carleton’s been great. York aren’t far behind. We’re where people thought we would be. Laurentian are still kind of fighting for third, but they haven’t won a game on the road and we beat them in their building [in December], so we’re confident we’ll hold on to at least third.”
The Rams play the Brock University Badgers on Friday night, and then Guelph on Saturday. Both games are in the Kerr gym and will start at 8 p.m.