By: Chris Blanchette
Best’s 30-point game helps down Laurier for 9th straight victory
The Ryerson men’s basketball team defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 105-82 for their ninth straight win.
The Rams got off to a hot start with Aaron Best, who led scorers with 30 points (11-17), knocking down 12 points in the first few minutes of the game. But the Rams offense began to flat line as the quarter rolled on.
“We didn’t come out with that fire or intensity that we came out with on Wednesday against Brock,” said head coach Patrick Tatham. “ And we said it in the locker room that just because Laurier doesn’t have a number doesn’t mean we should feel like we’re going to blow them out.”
Laurier forced Ryerson’s offense to run half court sets and work the ball inside, putting the Rams’ efficient fast break offense on hold. Ryerson big men Adam Voll and Kadeem Green struggled inside early – they forced looks down low and were unable to convert from outside. The Rams led 45-37 after the first half.
In the second half Aaron Best continued his dominant play while getting help from the usual do-it-all guard Adika Peter-McNeilly. With 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists – Peter-McNeilly has become a legitimate triple-double threat each night.
An odd absence from the rotation tonight was JV Mukama, who played a huge part in Ryerson’s Wednesday night victory over the fourth ranked Brock Badgers.
Unfortunately Tatham was unable to shed much light on the situation. When asked about his extended time on the bench, he said, “JV is just kind of sitting out right now.”
Even without Mukama, the Rams bench played a large role in a late third quarter run that served as a turning point in the game. Behind a huge second half effort from Ammanuel Diressa (21 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Filip Vujadinovic (13 points, 7 rebounds) Ryerson was able to run wild in transition, scoring quick and often.
“We have a team full of talented guys and on any given night anyone can catch fire. Manny [Diressa] and Fil [Vujadinovic] were great tonight, and that’s just the nature of our team,” said Best.
Though Ryerson had one of it’s worst three-point shooting performances of the year (28.6 per cent) they still managed to come away with a 23-point victory over Laurier to improve to 12-1 in OUA play.
The Rams will take on Algoma on Feb. 13, in what will be the final home game for seniors Best and Green.
Though Best doesn’t know if there will be banners of him hung in the rafters, which his outstanding career as a Ram could certainly warrant, he is looking forward to the culmination of his five-year Ryerson career.
On Feb. 13, against Algoma; Best, alongside his teammate and fellow senior, Green, will play in front of their home crowd one last time.
“It’s been special for five years and I’m just going to enjoy it,” said Aaron Best.