By Luke Galati
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team won their home opener 75-47 against the Waterloo Warriors Friday night at Coca-Cola Court.
The game was an all around team effort with Jahmal Jones, Aaron Best, Bjorn Michaelsen, Kadeem Green and Jean-Victor Mukama all scoring 10 or more points.
The key to winning the game, according to Ryerson’s head coach Roy Rana was the team’s defence.
“I thought our defensive intensity was really good today, we played the way we wanted to play defence and we never allowed them to get into a run and I think it was an overall effort,” said Rana.
In the game’s opening sequence, Waterloo guard Jaspreet Gill was on a fast break, putting up a layup. But Ryerson’s Kaddem Green — who is the OUA’s league leader in blocks (7) — came and pinned the ball on the backboard, giving the home crowd something to cheer about. Best corralled the ball, hustled with the ball down the court and hit his teammate Yannick Walcott who spotted up and hit the three-pointer.
Ryerson (2-1) never looked back and throughout the entire game never gave up the lead.
For Waterloo (0-3), it was one of those games that you want to try and forget.
With a 14 point lead going into halftime, Rana kept his team focused on the task at hand and at halftime, he told his team to, “just continue to play the way we we’re playing.”
“We wanted to see how consistent we could be in our effort and challenge [the Warriors] to see what they we’re made of and they answered,” said Rana. “They’re a very good team.”
Ryerson’s rookie Mukama got in on the fun in the second half, where he scored all of his team-high 12 points. He shot 50 per cent from the field, while making it rain from the perimeter, hitting two three pointer and three jump shots.
“I started off slow, but my teammates have confidence in me and kept giving me passes and I managed to come up with 12 points,” he said.
Coach Rana was excited about his rookies’ play.
“It’s always a good sign to get your new, young guys into the mix, it’s very encouraging,” said Rana.
Ryerson’s fourth-year point guard, Jahmal Jones had the line of the night, scoring 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes. He credited his success to the team buying in and playing hard without the ball.
“We know in order to win championships, we have to play tough defence,” he said. “We struggled at times on offence, but we know our defence leads to easier points.”
Ryerson locked down Waterloo on defence, keeping their field goal just under 30 per cent, while Ryerson went 50 per cent from the field.
Another key to the game was Ryerson’s ability to consistently win the battle for the boards. The Rams out rebounded the Warriors 37-21.
Ryerson will be looking to make it two in a row Saturday against the Laurier Golden Hawks (2-1) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“Hopefully, this [win] will transfer into tomorrow’s game against Laurier,” said Jones.