By Gavin Axelrod
A historic afternoon from Tanor Ngom helped the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team defeat the No. 10 ranked Western Mustangs 87-82 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Jan. 11.
Ngom etched his name in to the history books by hauling down his twenty-second rebound of the game late in the fourth quarter. The previous record of 21 rebounds was set by Joseph Imbrogno in 2006 and matched by Igor Bakovic in 2009. Ngom finished the contest with 23 points and 23 rebounds on 9-18 shooting.
“When I came here, I remember with [former Ryerson head coach Roy Rana], I told him my main goal in basketball is to be remembered,” said Ngom. “To be able to say I’m in the records of the school that I play for, it feels amazing.”
Logging 30 minutes of playing time, Ngom matched Tevaun Kokko with a team-high 23 points. After sitting out for over a month with a hand injury, Ngom’s jubilance was on full display post-game.
“Finally being back playing with my teammates, they trust me enough to give me the ball. I’m helping them on defence, I’m getting rebounds and running the floor,” said Ngom. “It feels amazing to be back and [to] contribute.”
Another key element in Ryerson’s victory was their strong defensive presence in the paint. The Rams held the Mustangs to just 10 points at the rim in the first half and 30 in the game, while out-rebounding their opponents 57-27.
“Our length is one of our assets, we’re fortunate to have that,” said Rams head coach Borko Popic.
Fourth-year forward Keevon Small caused havoc for the opposition all afternoon, leading to easy transition baskets for Ryerson. While Small’s hustle doesn’t always show up in the box score, his contributions have not gone unnoticed by his teammates.
“Keevon is always important because he does a lot of the little things,” said Rams point guard Tevaun Kokko. “He’s a great leader [and] his length, his IQ and his knowledge of the game are a great asset for us.”
While the Rams dominated the Mustangs in the first half, the game nearly slipped out of their grasp in the third quarter. Western’s Omar Shiddo scored a game-high 27 points and led the charge for his team, who outscored Ryerson 31-17 in the third frame.
Despite being outscored by Western 51-33 in the second half, Ryerson was able to hold off their opponent and hang on for an 87-82 victory.
Rams guard Jayden Frederick also recorded his second consecutive double-double, chipping in with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The win over Western is Ryerson’s second victory over a nationally ranked team this week.
In the coming weeks, the Rams will host the undefeated Carleton Ravens and the No. 4 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gee’s. However, they are taking things one game at a time.
“It’s day-by-day, game-by-game and it’s been like that all year,” said Popic. “We just focus one day at a time, today we took care of [Western], tomorrow we rest and then back to work on Monday.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will travel to the Physical Activities Complex to take on the Waterloo Warriors on Jan. 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.