By Will Baldwin
Another game, another dominant first quarter for the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team.
This time it was the Algoma Thunderbirds who fell victim to a dominant Rams first quarter. When the first 10 minutes had passed on Nov. 3 at Coca-Cola court, the home side was up 41-5.
The Rams would go on to win by a final score of 102-56, but the story of the game was about the way the home team started off. Jayden Frederick, who got his first start of the season for an injured Yusuf Ali, thinks it had to do with the team’s energy.
“I think the energy of our team [did it for us],” said Frederick, who finished second on the team with 19 points. “[Our] first quarters [have been] pretty ridiculous…we just come out hungry [and] defensively we’re engaged.”
Ali injured his ankle in practice this week and should be back “very soon,” according to Rams assistant coach Borko Popic. The injury gave Frederick a different role than he’s had to fill in previous games. However, it didn’t matter for the first-year guard, who said that he’s just there to help the team win.
“I’ll just play regardless, it doesn’t really matter,” said Frederick. “Whatever [Roy Rana] has me doing, as long as I can contribute and be a help to the team, I don’t really care what role I have.”
Frederick was key offensively all afternoon for Ryerson, but he wasn’t the only one who made his presence felt throughout the game. For the second straight contest, Rams forward Tanor Ngom set a career high in points, this time finishing with 24 to lead the home team. Algoma forward Nicholas Gehlen lead his team in scoring with 11 points.
The Thunderbirds were tightly defended by the Rams throughout the game, as they shot a mere 27 per cent from the field. It was a tough afternoon for Algoma overall, as they were never able to recover from the first quarter. Although Popic liked what he saw at the start of the game, he said that the Rams have some issues to fix ahead of a big set of road games in which they’ll face Waterloo, Laurier, McMaster and Brock.
“Our defensive intensity was really good in the first quarter, we went away from it a little bit after that, so we’ve got to clean some things up,” said Popic. “We showed that when we’re focused and intense at the right level that we can really defend, but we’ve got to be able consistently sustain that effort.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will start their four-game road trip on Nov. 9, when they take on the Waterloo Warriors at the Physical Activities Complex. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.