By Libaan Osman
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team kicked off the OUA playoffs with a decisive 84-61 win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in quarterfinals play on Feb. 23 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
In his first career playoff game, third-year guard Jayden Frederick provided a spark on both ends of the floor as he poured in 22 points, seven rebounds and four steals on 9-13 shooting.
“I was energetic from the time I woke up this morning because it’s my first game,” Frederick said. “I knew I was gonna play with a lot of energy.”
The Rams were without head coach Roy Rana, who is currently in St. John’s Newfoundland with the Canadian men’s national team for their sixth and final window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifers.
Assistant head coach Borko Popic took charge in his absence in the 23-point win over the Gee-Gees. It was also his first ever playoff win as a head coach.
“I definitely realized he was the coach for this week and I wanted him to get that win,” Frederick added. “He’s a good guy, he’s a good coach it’s great for him to get that recognition for what he does.”
After trailing by as many as seven in the first half, the Rams ran away with this contest in the third quarter, outscoring the Gee-Gees 25-11.
Sophomore centre Tanor Ngom became a problem the Gee-Gees couldn’t contain, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the second half. The big man finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks on 9-10 shooting on the night.
“I just came out gunning,” Ngom said. “This past week Rana wasn’t here and we’ve been going even harder. He teaches excellence and we try to keep that going.”
With Rana’s presence still felt amongst the players, they took care of business and defeating the Gee-Gees for the third time this season.
Other notable scorers for the Rams was fifth-year guard Myles Charvis, who poured in 16 points, five rebounds, and three steals in 37 minutes of action.
The Gee-Gees were led by guard Gage Sabien and his team-high 17 points.
With the win, the Rams now prepare for a matchup against the Laurier Goldenhawks for a chance to punch their ticket to the Final 8 tournament for the fifth straight year.
In their sole meeting earlier this year, Ryerson dominated Laurier on their home court, winning by 45 points.
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the Golden Hawks at the Athletic Complex on Feb. 27. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.