By Charles Vanegas
The Ryerson men’s basketball team opened its season with a big 69-64 win at home against Lakehead University. In the highly anticipated rematch of last season’s OUA semi-final, the Rams outworked and outplayed the fifth-ranked team in Canada.
“It gives us confidence that we can compete with the upper-echelon teams in the CIS,” said head coach Roy Rana. “We toughed it out. [It was a] good win.”
After being ahead for most of the game, the Rams found themselves trading leads for much of the fourth quarter. But a steal and layup from Jahmal Jones with 21 seconds remaining closed the door on any chance of a Lakehead win.
“We’ve been working in the offseason on just finishing games — that’s what it comes down to,“ said guard Yannick Walcott. “We just knew because of the way we beat them last year, that they’d come at us hard.”
Despite their appearance at the National Championships and having only one starter graduate, the Rams did not crack the top ten in the CIS preseason poll. Lakehead opened the season at six, and were promoted to five last week.
“We’re pretty happy to defend our house. Yeah, we have history with Lakehead, but we’re just happy to win our first game,” said Bjorn Michaelsen. “What matters is [where you are] at the end of the season.”
The Rams were led by guard Aaron Best’s 19 points and 9 rebounds and Michaelsen’s 12 and 10.
The Rams host the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Photos by Brian Batista Bettencourt