Photo: Brent Smyth

Rams pummel Thunderwolves, head into break in third place

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By Jacob Stoller

The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team dominated the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Saturday night, using their high-octane offence and sharp defence to capture a 98-52 victory at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

With the win, the Rams grabbed their sixth straight victory, placing themselves in a tie with Ottawa for third place in the OUA East.

Facing a winless Thunderwolves squad, Rams head coach Roy Rana used the game as a learning experience—rolling out a different starting lineup that didn’t include senior guard Myles Charvis.

“We (were) just trying to play our depth,” said Rana. “We had a lead, we were able to get guys in (and) kinda see what they can give us.”

For the majority of the game, the Rams were paced by senior guard Ammanuel Diressa, who led the Rams in scoring for the third consecutive game, scoring a game-high 25 points on 9-17 shooting.

Even with a 29-point lead heading into the second half, Ryerson kept their foot on the gas right until the final buzzer, sending a message to their younger players.

“You have to lead by example,” said Charvis, who finished the night with 11 points, six assists and two rebounds. “Even when (we’re up big)—we’re all about business. We want to have a professional approach.”

As the team approached the second half with a 54-23 lead, the spotlight was passed from the team’s current stars to the future ones—as seven-foot-two centre Tanor Ngom welcomed himself to the game. Checking in with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter, Ngom instantly made his presence felt, throwing down a two-handed dunk to bring life to the crowd at the Coca Cola Court.

“We’re trying to find ways to keep (Ngom) involved in the different aspects of our offence,” said Rams assistant coach Borko Popic, who led Ngom in a one-on-one shootaround at halftime.

In just over five minutes of action in the third quarter, Ngom netted a total of four points, four rebounds and two blocks — one of which featured a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag at the end.

“He’s a really funny guy,” said a smiling Charvis. “I think the biggest thing (for Ngom) right now is just to stay confident. When he’s confident, he’s an amazing basketball player—because nobody can block his shit. He’s seven-two, and there’s not too many guys that can go and contest him.”

While Ngom has found a way to impress during his limited 15 minutes per game, the Senegal native has plenty of work to do before morphing into a dominant player.

“He’s a young developing player who has unlimited upside,” said Popic. “But he’s also got things he’s working on and trying to improve on—it’s a game by game, day by day process and he continues to embrace the learning opportunities and he’s taking great strides.”

The Rams will have to deal with the Carleton Ravens when they return from the winter break, but for now, Rana just wants his players to take some time off and get to themselves.

“(Carleton) is a long ways off,” said Rana. “Right now (we have to) get them through exams, make sure they have a great academic two weeks and then lets get back to work and prepare.”

UP NEXT: The Rams will head on the road to take on the undefeated Carleton Ravens on Jan. 5th at the Ravens Nest in Ottawa. Tip-off is scheduled at 8:00 p.m.

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