By Ben Waldman
Ryerson’s men’s basketball team maintained its perfect record on Sunday, beating the Laurentian Voyageurs 84-65 to improve to 6-0 on the season.
Unlike many of their games this season, the Rams were given a significant challenge by the Voyageurs, who trailed by just four points at the half.
Point guard Jahmal Jones came out attacking to begin the game, garnering seven of the Rams’ first nine points on his way to a game-high 34.
The game was defined by its physicality, with 57 personal fouls between the two teams. That contributed heavily to the Voyageurs’ third quarter lead, but Jones thinks that the Rams responded the right way in that tough position.
“I think we’re better [playing] from behind because we focus and we play more urgently,” Jones said. “Things really started clicking.”
In the first half, Ryerson shot just 1-13 from three-point range and only attempted 10 free-throws to Laurentian’s 23. The refereeing was central to the outcome as the game progressed, with coaches and fans actively voicing their displeasure with the calls.
Rams forward Juwon Grannum played a key role in the win, contributing valuable minutes off the bench and playing smart, team-oriented basketball.
“A big thing for us is our bench energy,” Grannum said. “Once we get on a run, we’re hard to stop.”
Grannum put up 10 points and six boards, but insists that the team owes its record to the Rams’ play on the defensive side of the ball.
“It’s all through defence,” he said. “We know when we get further in the season, not all the games will be blowouts.”
While there is room for improvement, the Rams showed that they can buckle down on defence when needed, holding the Voyageurs to just 22.6 per cent shooting in the second half.
Fifth-year guard Jordon Gauthier hit a milestone in the game when he picked up his 500th rebound. He is only the fourth Ram to have passed the 1,000-point and 500-rebound marks in their careers.
Next week, the Rams head to the nation’s capital to take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees (6-0) and the Carleton Ravens (6-0). Those will be the two toughest games Ryerson plays this season, but Jones is confident in his team’s odds.
“Our goal is to go undefeated and win the national championship,” Jones said. ”We’re going to have to go through them eventually, so why not try to beat them on their own court?”