By Mitchell Tierney
The Ryerson University Rams men’s basketball team started 2016 with an emphatic 104-69 victory over the visiting York University Lions at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
With the win the Rams improve to 5-1 on the season, two points behind the Queen’s University Gaels for first place in the OUA East. They will now have a chance to catch the Gaels when they play them on Saturday.
Adika Peter-McNeilly led the way for the Rams with 22 points, while JV Mukama added 19 off the bench. 12 Ryerson players in total put up points as the team used the lead they had most of the game to test their bench players.
That depth came up big for Ryerson in this game, as they would get 49 points off the bench compared to just 8 for York. York’s top five scorers in the game were all starters.
After both teams struggled to put up points early, 11 first quarter points from Aaron Best would see Ryerson jump out to a 22-17 lead. Peter-McNeilly would add 9 points as Ryerson’s two leading scorers would combine for 20 of Ryerson’s 22 first quarter points.
Mistakes would start to catch up with the York Lions (3-5) in the second quarter, as they would make many of their 21 total turnovers in the game. 29 Ryerson points would come off of those turnovers as the Rams made York pay for their poor ball handling.
At half-time the Rams had improved their lead to 17 points, with the score being 54-37. Three-point shooting would be the difference for Ryerson as they went 47.4 per cent from behind the arc. Mukama set the tempo by going a perfect 3-for-3 from the three-point line in the first quarter.
Mukama would continue his hot play to start the second half as Ryerson showed no interest in slowing down. He would ignite the crowd and the Rams bench when he scored an alley-oop dunk, followed by yet another three-pointer on the team’s next possession. Ryerson entered the final frame up 81-49.
Ryerson’s bench players took over in the fourth quarter as coach Patrick Tatham rested Peter-McNeilly and Best. Injured for the first part of the season, Adam Voll would announce his return with an and-1 slam dunk midway through the frame. It would also see first-year guard Jupvir Atwal put up his first points as a Ram with a pair of three pointers in the fourth quarter.
The win was an important confidence boost for the Rams ahead of some important games to start 2016. During the next two weekends Ryerson will have a chance to take the lead in the OUA East and improve their CIS ranking, they are currently ranked 5th in the country.
The Rams continue a four game home stand with a game against the OUA leading Queen’s Gaels on Saturday. The game starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The Rams are a perfect 3-0 so far this season at home.