By Josh Wingrove
Ryerson’s men’s basketball team earned its first regular season victory Saturday night, winning 64-60 over the Paladins of Royal Military College (RMC) in the last home game of the season.
Saturday night was seniors night for the Rams. Where most seniors’ specials involve Murder, She Wrote and 10 per cent off coffee, Saturday night was a night to honour the graduating players on the men’s and women’s team. The men’s team made sure not to spoil the night with a 64-60 victory over RMC.
The Rams were carried in scoring by guards Jeff Proctor, Vlad Matevski and Brandon Krupa, and were able to avoid a last-second defeat that had haunted them for the past two weekends. “It’s definitely a relief,” said Rams head coach Patrick Williams, who earned his first regular season win since taking over the job in August, 2003.
“We could have folded in certain areas of the game, but we didn’t. This was good. It was a lot of fun just to see them battle and compete.”
Matevski was playing his final home game after four years with the Rams. “I’ve spent so much time here, it’s tough leaving this school, this gym, these people. It’s like some part of your body just goes away,” he said. Matevski is graduating and plans to give up his final year of eligibility.
“I’m finishing school. As much as I love basketball, I just need to move on,” he said. “Tonight is Vlad’s last game at home, so, once again, we came up big,” said Williams. “I can tell you a lot of memories, but this win, it means a lot to me. I’ve been waiting for two years. I can’t even tell you with words how much it means to me,” Matevski said.
Anyone who has watched Matevski knows his intensity. His hard-working attitude has not gone unnoticed. “We talked about doing this one for Vlad because it is his last home game,” said Rams forward Peeter Veltmann. “He’s been such a great leader. He’s a great person.” “I’m honoured to have him play for me. Its just an absolute honour to see that kind of hard work and what we preach is hard work,” said Williams. “You can’t find it anywhere else.”
“He sets an example for what you want to be, basketball-wise, working hard. And academically, too. You’ve got to work hard both ways,” said Rams guard Duane Benjamin. “Despite his yelling at times, he has that drive that you’ve got to have in life. You’ve got to have that drive to be the best, and he has that.” “He’s a character, its hard to replace Vlad. He works so hard, he sets an example for everyone,” said rookie Brandon Krupa.
Matevski finished Saturday night with 14 points and 10 rebounds. More importantly, he finished with a win. “If we had to do it for someone, I’m glad it was for Vlad,” Veltmann said.
The Rams will look to close out the season strong and hold hope for a strong 2005-2006 campaign. “Hopefully, this win will give a lot of confidence to the players,” Matevski said.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” “You’re going to see a different team next year,” said Benjamin, who is entering his final year of eligibility. “You’re not going to see another repeat of strings of losses. I’m saying that now.” “We’re close, we’re close. We’re a young team, and we’ve matured a lot over the season. I’m very optimistic going into next year,” added Veltmann.
“I think next year is going to be a good year.”