By Gabriel Lee
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team were down three points against the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks with a quarter left to play before letting the game slip away from them.
The young core of Rams showed their inexperience in the fourth quarter, as they were outscored by seventeen points en route to getting blown out in their home opener by a score of 85-65.
Opening up the season against the 10th ranked team in the country was certainly a good test for the Rams. Tonight showed the Rams showed they have the ability to hang with the heavyweights of the CIS, but they’re just missing the mental toughness to close a team out.
Only a few days removed from their California road trip the Rams looked sluggish out of the gate, digging themselves a 7-0 hole.
Ryerson head coach Roy Rana attributed the slow start to Laurier’s ability to dictate the tempo of the game in their favour.
“They came in and zoned it up and slowed it down,” said Rana. “We had a slow start because they slowed it down.”
To combat the sloppy start, coach Rana inserted fourth year guard, Ola Adegboruwa, into the game a little earlier than he had hoped to. Adegboruwa’s veteran presence was felt immediately by doing all the little things right: within the first five minutes of stepping onto the floor, he took a charge, and was able to get a hand on a loose ball before tracking it down and tipping it to a team mate.
Led by Adegboruwa, Jahmal Jones and first year guard Aaron Best, the Rams got their running game going. And by the end of the first half they only trailed 35-33.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the third quarter that the Rams took their first lead of the game courtesy of a three-pointer from guard Jordon Gauthier.
Ryerson led for most of the third quarter of play, but they weren’t able to push their lead beyond four points. Laurier stuck in the game due to their consistent three point shooting; with two minutes left in the quarter the finally broke through and retook a one point lead. A lead that they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game.
The Golden Hawks went on a 19-2 run after an ankle injury to Ryerson’s promising rookie Aaron Best, most of the damage done with Kale Harrison, their leading scorer from last season, fouled out.
“We proved we’re not a one man team,” said Maxwell Allin of Laurier. “We have multiple players who are really talented.”
Jahmal Jones feels that his team let up a bit after seeing the opposing team’s star foul out: “when Harrison fouled out I think guys thought things would be easier but they went on a run after. They outscored us by 17 in that fourth quarter which is really hard to swallow.”
The Rams had trouble hanging onto the ball all game, committing 20 turnovers compared to Laurier’s seven.
The final score was definitely not indicative of how close the game was for three and a half quarters. Several positives can be taken from the Rams’ opening night loss. Jones picked up where he left off last season, finishing with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. As a team Ryerson shot 66 per cent from three point range in the second half. And Luke Staniscia started off his final season in a Rams uniform on the right foot, with a gritty 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The 0-1 Rams will look to bounce back tomorrow night when they play host to the the Waterloo Warriors, who are also 0-1.