By Libaan Osman
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team orchestrated a 16-point comeback in the second half to defeat the Brock Badgers, 71-62 at the Meridian Centre on Nov. 17.
Despite looking like they were going to drop their first game of the season, the Rams managed to turn a 22-38 deficit at the half into a magnificent come from behind victory. Led by the terrific play of veteran guards Jean-Victor Mukama and Myles Charvis, Ryerson managed to get through an atrocious first two quarters in which they shot just 26.7 from the field and 15.4 per cent from long distance.
Mukama had just four points and three turnovers on 2-7 shooting in the first half, but he was much more aggressive in the third quarter, which ultimately changed things for Ryerson. Dropping 13 of his 21 points in the frame, he would help cut the Rams deficit to seven heading into the fourth. Flipping the script in the second half, the Rams hit 17 of their 30 shot attempts and were a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line.
“Like [Roy Rana] said, we were playing soft,” Mukama said. “It wasn’t because we were off, we were just playing soft. At halftime, coach was like ‘I’m not even going to get mad, you guys know what’s going on.’”
Charvis struggled in the beginning portion of this game, scoring only two points on 1-3 shooting in the first 10 minutes of play. In the second half, he was much better, dropping seven of his 19 points in the final frame to help his team’s comeback efforts.
“I think it was a little bit of jitters,” Charvis said. “A couple of us are used to big games like this, but at the same time, it’s not something we play [in] all the time in an area like this.”
To begin the game, Brock shot a stellar 61.1 per cent from the field, connecting on five triples in the first quarter. Badgers guard Johneil Simpson led the way with 14 points and five rebounds on 5-8 shooting during the frame.
The home team, however, would cool down as the game progressed, finishing the night shooting 38.3 per cent while hitting only two of their 15 three-point attempts in the second half. “We were able to use our length, our athleticism to disrupt and get out to shooters,” lead assistant coach Borko Popic said.
Adjustments from the Rams coaching staff, held Simpson to 5 points on 2-9 shooting in the second half. Their stellar defence returned to form, holding the Badgers scoreless after the 5:16 mark in the fourth.
“It showed our toughness mentally,” Mukama said. “A lot of teams…if they were in the position we were in, they [would’ve] struggled to come back and they [would’ve] crumbled under the pressure.”
This is the Rams’ first regular season win against Brock since the 2016-16 season. It was also their first true test of the season, as they only won by nine compared to their first six games in which they won by an average of 39.3 points. Ryerson currently sits atop the OUA alongside the Carleton Ravens, with three games left in the first half of the regular season.
UP NEXT: The Rams will head back home and prepare for their next match up, which will be against the Windsor Lancers on Nov. 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated the Rams last beat Brock in the 2014-15 season, but it was in the 2015-16 season. The Eye regrets this error.