By Gabe Lee
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team won their first OUA playoff game in nearly eight years Wednesday night as they defeated the York Lions 80-70.
In freshman Bjorn Michaelsen’s second game back from an injury that has kept him out of action since Christmas, the 6’8 big man from Montreal looked very sharp, as he began the game by scoring the first two points of the game, and scoring on a no-look circus shot with the shot-clock expiring.
“I thought in the first half we executed our offence better than we have all year,” praised Head-coach Roy Rana. “Guys shared the ball, we made every right decision and we got it inside. It was great to see Bjorn being able to operate again.”
Michaelsen’s return coupled with the injury to York’s key big man Dejan Kravic gave Ryerson an advantage on the inside for most of the game. Michaelsen’s return also allowed forward Luke Staniscia, who was starting at center in place of the then injured Michaelsen, to shift back to his natural position at power-forward.
“It’s way easier, I don’t have to defend the tallest guy on the floor anymore,” said Staniscia. “It makes it easier for rebounding, it makes it easier for me to finish, and everything comes easier. It’s great having Bjorn back.”
In the second quarter, the Lions still struggled to develop an offensive rhythm but they did manage to cool the Rams off. York held Ryerson to two points for half of the second quarter, before Jelane Pryce’s left handed hook ended the drought.
The Rams extended their lead to 43-22 going into the half despite Jahmal Jones being plagued by foul trouble.
“It was huge for us,” said Staniscia. “That’s the thing we always find ways to get buckets so even when Jahmal’s out, we got Afeworki (Geberkerestos) coming off the bench to spark us so we got a lot of people who can score.”
The Lions gradually clawed their way back into the game thanks to their three-point shooting and second chance points.
David Tyndale, York’s star guard, erupted for 18 second half points, shooting 3-3 from behind the arc. Not to be out done, Rams guard Ola Adegboruwa also was 6-6 from the field in the second half, en route to a game-high 24 points.
“We got a little sloppy,” explained Rana. “Their best players made big shots. Tyndale made some big threes, Choliy hit some big threes.”
The Lions put together an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter to cut Ryerson’s lead to four, but that’s at close at they would get. Adegboruwa’s corner three with a minute left in the game effectively ended York’s comeback ambitions, putting Ryerson up 76-65 as they finished the game an 80-70 win.