By Libaan Osman
Even though Ryerson Rams point guard Myles Charvis scored 19 points in the second half, the men’s basketball team wouldn’t be able to complete an 18-point comeback in a 76-69 loss to the Carleton Ravens on Jan. 5 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
It marks the first loss of the season for the Rams, dropping their record to 10-1.
In the first half, Charvis struggled, shooting 1-7 from the field, but he became possessed in the third quarter, dropping 13 of his team-high 23 points in the frame.
“I wasn’t really forcing anything in the first half, it’s just that those open shots weren’t falling,” Charvis said. “I knew eventually they would, and luckily they did. It helped us surge that comeback.”
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough, as the Rams dealt with a series of issues throughout the game. The Rams didn’t make it easy for themselves early on, falling behind 12-0 to begin the game, as the Ravens came swinging, connecting on their first four shot attempts.
“They came out with energy and we didn’t,” lead assistant Borko Popic said. “We were kind of flat to begin the game on both ends of the floor and they made shots and we just kind of settled for tough ones. That’s the no. 1 team in the country, you can’t give them a 12-0 and expect to have an easy path to battle back.”
Ryerson managed to trim the Ravens’ lead to six with about eight minutes left in the second quarter, but once again Carleton stopped them in their tracks, finishing the half on an 18-6 run that gave them 44-26 lead.
Shooting their worst percentage from three on the season (3-22), there was more of an emphasis to run in transition for the Rams, scoring 24 points off 19 Carleton turnovers.
Foul trouble also plagued the Rams, with both Filip Vujadinovic and Tanor Ngom fouling out in the fourth. The Rams’ bench couldn’t catch a rhythm offensively, with zero points in the first half and eight total points on the night.
“We always talk about our depth, and I think we need to show it better,” Rams guard Jean-Victor Mukama said. “Being injured is part of the game, being in foul trouble is part of the game and we’re aware of that.”
With 5:13 left in the fourth quarter, Rams guard Yusuf Ali knocked down a jumper to cut the deficit to 66-62. It was the closest Ryerson would get all game, and Ravens guard Yasiin Joseph made sure they wouldn’t get any closer, draining a three the next position to put Carleton in the driver’s seat, remaining a perfect 11-0 on the year.
Joseph finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting off the bench while forward Eddie Ekiyor led the team in scoring with 23 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. This was the first matchup between the teams since March when the Rams knocked out the Ravens in the semi-finals of the U SPORTS Final 8 tournament in Halifax.
The Rams were without fifth-year guard Nathan Culbreath off the bench, who is currently nursing an injury. Ryerson also had a few scares in this one, as Ngom went down with an apparent leg injury in the second, while Charvis and Mukama both cramped up in the fourth quarter.
All three players would return in the game as the team’s focus now shifts to the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“Back in the days, I would’ve been angry, throwing stuff around. But right now I’m thinking about Ottawa,” Mukama said. “I’m not angry, I’m not happy obviously, you always want to win but this is good, sometimes we need this. You need a loss to wake us up, go in the lab and come back strong.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Jan. 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.