By Wayne Veenstra
A loss to the Ottawa Gee Gee’s Saturday (Feb. 11) was not the way Duane Benjamin and Geoff Proctor wanted their last home game to turn out.
“I’ve had a good time here in my two years here. It would have been nice if I had more eligibility and could come back for another year,” Benjamin reflected after the loss.
He finished the game with 13 points. “It would have been nice to get the win but we played well, we competed for the whole game. (Coach Glenn Taylor) has got a few guys he wants to bring in so I’m confident that Ryerson will have a successful season in the near future,” Benjamin said. And the future was the focus of the evening as the Rams lost 78-71, while potential recruits watched in the stands and the Rams’ young front-court played well throughout. Taylor was happy with both his big men — Igor Bakovic and Joey Imbrogno.
He is especially encouraged by rookie Imbrogno’s progress. “(Imbrogno) is starting to figure it out, and when a first-year guy does that it’s a huge advantage. He’s fixed his free-throw shooting. He rebounds very well. You can fix a couple things each year but he’s proven he’s going to be a blue chipper,” Taylor said of his 6’10” forward.
Bakovic also demonstrated that he could dominate in the key and on the glass. He finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds. Their performances, along with solid guard play by Benjamin and Proctor, fueled the Ryerson attack as the Rams played some of their best basketball of the season, exchanging buckets with Ottawa the entire game.
They even took a lead into halftime after Benjamin drove through traffic for a lay-up, putting the Rams up 37-35. Some controversial calls by the referees and a technical assessed to Coach Taylor at the 3:53 mark of the second half made it difficult for the Rams to regain the lead in the late stages of the contest.
“They seem to close out games well but we know that we can compete with these guys,” Imbrogno said after the game. “It’s just about getting our minds focused, being ready for the game and not being afraid of them.” These are things the team can learn from its veterans, Benjamin and Proctor, who have played hard all season.
The Rams season ends Friday with a game at the University of Toronto, but the coach and players hope a new season will bring new results.