By Michael Grace-Dacosta
Jahmal Jones scored a career-high 31 points to lead Ryerson men’s basketball team to an 84-79 victory over the Windsor Lancers Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Windsor was led in scoring by fifth-year Enrico Diloreto who had 20 points while star big man Lien Phillip had 17 points and 14 points in the loss.
The Rams (4-1) struggled in the first half because Windsor’s (2-3) full court press frustrated the Rams offense, holding them to 35 per cent from the field for the half, which led to a lot of easy points in transition.
“Their press caught us off guard because no team really presses us because of our speed,” said Jones. “They kept us off balance for the [entire half].”
The Lancers ended the half on a 5-2 run, to go up 41-35, highlighted by point guard Josh Collins’ four point-play, after draining a three-pointer on a foul.
After a quiet first half thanks to foul trouble, Jones took over the second half igniting a 9-2 run to begin the frame.
“Being in foul team was tough and I felt like I had a monkey on my back,” said Jones. “I knew if [I] can get to the paint it would spark us and I think I did a good job of [that].”
Shooting guard Aaron Best chipped in with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Rams.
The Rams, but Jones specifically, got into the paint with ease throughout the second half as they appeared to figure out how to beat the Lancers full court press, shooting 48 per cent from the field in the second half.
“Ryerson just wanted it more than us,” said Phillip. “We let [Jones] do what he wanted to do and that killed us.”
The Rams ended the quarter on a 4-0 run, to go up 57-53, capped by a cold-blooded three-pointer from Jones. The Rams never relinquished the lead after that point.
Jones has bounced back from his rough season last year, and according Ryerson head coach Roy Rana proved with his performance Friday night why he remains one of the best point guards in the nation.
“I promised my self to forget about my third year because I feel like it was one of my worst years. I over analyzed things last year and made it hard for myself,” said Jones. “This year I’m just playing with a free spirit and having fun doing it because in one year my time is up so I have to enjoy it now.”
The Rams next game is against the Western Mustangs at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Saturday Nov. 16.