By Gavin Axelrod
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team destroyed the No. 5 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees 91-67 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Jan. 24.
A physical and fast-paced first quarter set the tone for the evening. Rams point guard Tevaun Kokko came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 14 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter.
“I just try to play within the flow of the game,” said Kokko. “Having me be aggressive to start the game, it kind of opens up things for everyone else [and] we have so many talented guys on the team that you can’t really key in one guy, I think that’s a testament to that.”
Despite Kokko’s hot start, the Rams found themselves playing from behind for most of the first quarter. Ottawa showed that they were going to live and die by the three-pointer with five makes on 12 attempts in the opening frame.
Trailing 26-23 to start the second quarter, the Rams charged ahead. Ryerson forward Tanor Ngom, welcomed the Gee-Gees to his own little block party, swatting the ball into the front row early in the quarter.
Ngom finished the game with 24 points and 19 rebounds, coming close to his own program record for rebounds in a game. The third-year forward’s mother, whom he had not seen in three years prior to last week, was in attendance Friday night.
“Today was the first time ever she saw me play basketball,” said Ngom. “Every single thing I did I was like, ‘My mom is here!’ I haven’t seen her in three-and-a-half years. It’s very special.”
The turning point for the Ryerson came in the second quarter, as they looking nothing short of absolute dominance. They held Ottawa to just six points and zero made three-pointers on 13 attempts in the quarter.
“We know that they like to get up a lot of shots, especially from beyond the arc,” said Kokko. “I think they rank in the upper tier in the country in that regard, so we just tried to key in on that and I think we did a good job of executing.”
Rams guard Jayden Frederick was impressive all night as he played a complete game, dropping 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Defensively, forward Keevon Small wreaked havoc for Ryerson. Small ended up with four blocks and four steals in 25 minutes.
“[Small’s] a glue guy, he does a little bit of everything,” said Rams head coach Borko Popic. “He’s complete all around, he’s contributing wherever we need it and we need him to continue doing that.”
Tonight’s victory marks the Rams third victory over a top-10 ranked team in three weeks. Ryerson is currently riding a six-game win streak dating back Nov. 30.
UP NEXT: Ryerson takes on the No.1 ranked Carleton Ravens Jan. 25 at the MAC.