By Andrew Roberts
Despite playing without their head coach Roy Rana, the Ryerson men’s basketball team (9-2) defeated the York Lions (5-5) 89-51 Wednesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Both teams entered the contest on a high note with the Lions winning their last three and the Rams winning their last two. The games opening moments were back-and-forth, but Ryerson was able to pull away 21-12 after the first quarter.
“We came out, showed some aggression, and had a fairly good first half,” said Rams assistant coach Patrick Tatham. “It’s always nice to see them do well without the head coach around.” Rana was unable to attend Wednesday’s matchup due to family matters.
But beyond the impressive start, York continued to commit bad turnovers and Ryerson was able to convert off 32.4 per cent of their shots beyond the arc. The Lions only managed to hit 26.5 per cent of their long range attempts, and at the end of the first half, York had committed 16 turnovers leading to a commanding 42-26 Rams lead.
Just 16 seconds into the second half, York’s head coach Tom Oliveri picked up two technical fouls and was ejected from the game.
Naturally, this did not boost the Lions’ moral and the Rams offense continued to power through. Rams guard Jahmal Jones led all players with 19 points and Ryerson’s second-highest point getter, Aaron Best, made a huge slam dunk at 6:22 in quarter three to set the tone of the blowout performance.
“We shared the ball, got rebounds, and had good transition,” Jones said. “We feed off our crowd and our bench, so that’s all we want to do.”
As anticipated, the Rams officially doubled the Lions in scoring three minutes later, leading an incredible 72-34 heading into the game’s final quarter. But the score notwithstanding, Ryerson continued to play a hard game from start to finish.
“Every game we try to bring that defensive intensity,” Best said. “That’s our identity, that’s always going to be what we focus on no matter who the opponent is.”
The Rams are back in action on Friday, Jan. 16 when they visit the last place Algoma Thunderbirds [0-9] at the George Leach Centre at 8 p.m.