By Amit Shilton
After a strong opening win against Memorial University in the Ed DeArmon Memorial Tournament, Ryerson’s men’s basketball team watched the shine of a medal ranking fade away.
In their second game of the tournament, the Rams tipped off against the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Panthers and lost 91-86.
The teams traded baskets early on, with each team taking advantage of the other’s weaknesses. The Rams were a force on the boards, out-rebounding the smaller UPEI team while the Panthers took advantage of their speed, driving to the basket with ease.
Ryerson coach Glenn Taylor grew antsy on the bench as his team picked up nearly half a dozen fouls that could have gone the other way as offensive fouls.
“We didn’t play well defensively,” Taylor said. “A lot of it was just inexperience.”
After going into the second half down by nine, the Rams started to slowly mount a comeback, led by centre Igor Bakovic and sharp-shooter Brandon Krupa.
After a quiet first half, Bakovic erupted and finished the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Usually calm and collected, Bakovic played with emotion, going as far as commiting an intentional foul — an elbow to the face of a Panthers player.
Taylor was happy to see a sign of intensity from the veteran. “He actually stepped out and popped some guy, which is fine. We’ve been waiting for that to happen,” he said.
Meanwhile Krupa missed only three shots all game, finishing with a game- high 29 points.
“It would have been much better if we got the win. We would have been in the finals in our own tournament which would have been a big step for our basketball program,” Krupa said.
The next night the Rams dropped their last game of the tournament 77-61 to the University College of Cape Breton Capers.
The York Lions won the tournament for the second time in three years with a 67-63 win over UPEI. York forward Dan Eves scored 17 and was named the tournament MVP.