By Matt Flemming
Fifth-year guard Vlad Matevski walked off the court Sunday, his team having lost by 29 points, and summed up his team’s performance in one word, “horrible”.
“We play with no heart. We have a lack of focus, lack of hard work and lack of energy,” Matevski said.
The Ryerson men’s basketball team continued their winless season last weekend with a 92-75 loss to the Laurentian Voyageurs and 75-46 loss to the York Lions.
Against Laurentian, the game was over almost before it even started. The Rams fell behind by 20 points very early in the first quarter. They came out trying to score points off the fast break but they were simply unable to finish their plays. They shot only 35 per cent in the first half and seemed disorganized.
On a few occasions, Matevski’s frustration erupted. During the first half he shouted at teammate Omar Bryan and others for continuing to miss defensive assignments.
Coach Williams understands Matevski’s actions. “You can’t be content to sit there and ponder what has happened for 20 odd games. You have to look at where you want to go and what you want to be in the future,” said the first-year coach.
The Rams fell behind by 30 early in the second half, prompting Voyageurs coach Virgil Hill to take out his three best players, Andrew Greig, James Jefferson, and Ben Palmer. The Rams actually outscored Laurentian in the second half, but the Voyageurs, already having the game in the bag, pressed the cruise control button.
Matevski had 25 points to lead the Rams, while forward Mark Ibrahimovic had 19 points and 13 rebounds. The two were by far the hardest working Rams on the court. Andrew Greig dropped 29 points to lead the Voyageurs while Ben Palmer had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Against the York Lions, the Rams exploded with energy and enthusiasm, but after an early 10-0 run by York it was clear the losing streak would continue.
The Lions used a zone defense that the Rams were simply unable to penetrate. Many times, the Rams had trouble getting shots from inside the three-point line and were often forced to just throw the ball at the net before the shot clock expired. The Rams shot a pitiful 29.6 per cent and were only 1 for 13 from beyond the arc. The Rams were also out-rebounded 40-21.
“We have carried none of the positive energy forward,” Williams said.
Shooting guard Matevski lead the Rams with 11 points, while forward Daniel Eves had 17 for the Lions.
The Rams problems are obvious. First, they have a lack of confidence. In no other player is that more evident than in rookie, Igor Bakovic. Despite his size, the 6’9” centre seems to lack the strength and the ability to put himself in a position to rebound.
Above all, it’s obvious the Rams simply don’t have the talent to compete in the OUA without Errol Fraser in the lineup.
Peeter Veltmann simply could not execute in the key against York Lions. He was 1-7 shooting for 2 points. Matevski and Ibrahimovic tried to do too much but either one are the type of player that should be asked to carry the team’s offence.
One of the positives that Coach Williams took out of the weekend was the play of Shae Frattura. Frattura, 24, played the final four minutes against York and poured in 7 points, including a sweet three pointer. Frattura was visibly fired up.
Williams said that the rest of the team can learn from performances like Frattura’s “This is a time for us to make a statement about who we are and who we are going to be in the future. We have eight games to do so. We want to have a positive image of who we want to be. And if everyone was looking and watching what Shae Frattura brought, then we’d be close,” said Williams.
Rams are home this weekend to the Royal Military College Paladins (7-7) and the Queen’s University Golden Gaels (6-8).
There was some good news for the Rams last weekend: Errol Fraser will have an MRI this week, and depending on the results, could be back as soon as this weekend.
Williams mentioned that while their offence has improved, their defense has gotten worse. “It’s like dressing a three year old, you put the pants on, and then you go look for the shirt and then the pants are off. We want to keep everyone dressed as we go through the process,” Williams said.