By Allan Perkins
The Ryerson men’s basketball team held off a comeback from the Waterloo Warriors after giving back most of a 21-point lead. They improved to 3-0 on the season with a 96-86 win over Ben Davis and the Warriors Saturday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Rams jumped out to an early lead, starting the game with an eye-popping alley-oop from guard Adika Peter-McNeilly to forward Filip Vujadinovic off the opening tip. The Warriors went blow for blow with the Rams early, grabbing a 23-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Rams began to pull away after an air ball from Waterloo and a three from the Rams’ Peter-McNeilly, who finished with a team-high 22 points and 12 rebounds.
The Rams held Waterloo to just 14 points in the second quarter with stifling perimeter defence, keeping the Warriors in check from outside. Ryerson took a 50-37 lead into halftime and looked to be in control.
Davis, after scoring 11 points for the Warriors by the early second quarter, was given extra defensive pressure and was held scoreless the rest of the half. The second half, however, was a different story as Davis went off. He scored a game-high 33 points on 11-26 shooting while going 8-9 from the free throw line.
He led the comeback for the Warriors, who pulled to within as many as seven in the fourth. Rams’ head coach Patrick Tatham was not happy with how his team let Waterloo back into the game.
“I think a lot of times our guys rely on their talent more than their hard work and we showed the perseverance but I just don’t think that our third quarters have been very good at all,” he said after the game.
Tatham was particularly unimpressed with the Rams’ second half defence, allowing Waterloo to shoot 45 per cent from the field in the third and fourth quarters.
“It’s really just a mindset, we can’t be up 15, 17 or 18 points and then squander it away,” Tatham said.
Guard Jean-Victor Mukama, who got into foul trouble early and only played 18 minutes, agrees, saying the Rams played well, but not well enough.
“It’s a reality check I would say. We need to learn that when we have a lead, to keep it and not be reckless because we have a big lead,” he said.
The Rams were outscored in the second half by three points, but their early lead was enough to hold off the surging Warriors. Ammanuel Diressa had the dagger shot for the Rams, putting them up 10 with just under two minutes to go with a smooth jumper off of a pick and roll. He finished with 20 points and five assists.
The Rams will head to Windsor next week to take on the 2-1 Lancers who are coming off of a 20-point loss against Western. The Rams will not be back at home until Jan. 13, 2015, when they take on the York Lions after the holiday break.