Rams overcome sloppy play, win final preseason home game

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Armen Zargarian

The Rams men’s basketball team improved to 2-3 in the preseason, beating the George Brown College Huskies 92-85 on Oct. 23 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

They held the lead from the 4:53 mark of the first quarter until the end of the game. At one point, the lead was as high as 15 points with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter. 

The Rams were sloppy early, coughing up the ball, which became a theme throughout the game. 

“Every time we had a chance to get into double-digits, we would throw the ball away,” said Rams head coach David DeAveiro. 

The team also finished the game with an eye-catching 20 turnovers. 

“It’s a lack of respect for the basketball,” said DeAveiro. “Just nonchalant with the ball.” 

The game started with Kayode Fakomi emphatically claiming the jump ball. With his length and jumping ability, expect that to be a recurrence this season. 

Mouhamed Ndiaye started the game with back-to-back triples from the same 45 degree spot on the three-point arc. He also provided stellar perimeter defence and added five three-pointers en route to a team-high 19 points. 

The first quarter was tight throughout, ending 22-21 in favour of the Rams. 

Only 15 seconds into the second quarter, coach DeAveiro called a timeout, not pleased with the lack of concentration he was seeing from his team. 

The players responded to DeAveiro’s  urgency, causing back to back turnovers leading to fast-break buckets. 

As the quarter progressed, the Rams did an especially good job of working over screens. This caused multiple illegal screen fouls. 

The Rams established a 35-25 with six minutes left in the half, but the Huskies answered back with eight straight points cutting the deficit to two points. 

Third-year guard Marcus Upshaw was the consistent point of attack for the Rams, pushing the pace and attacking the rim relentlessly. Upshaw finished the game with 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. 

In the second half, the Huskies came out the aggressor, controlling the pace and taking better care of the basketball.

The Rams only scored four points in the first four minutes of the half, but the Huskies were unable to take advantage. 

At the 5:30 mark, Rams forward Tom Dumont drove down the middle of the paint and stuffed a right-handed dunk on a Huskies defender. The fans at the MAC rose to their feet after the play. 

Despite all the action, George Brown managed to cut the Rams lead down to one point with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter. 

DeAveiro aimed to quell the Huskies momentum by switching to a 2-3 zone defense that lasted until the two minute mark of the fourth quarter. 

After the first fourth quarter timeout, the Rams executed a full-court press, searching for a defensive stand and undoubtedly trying out some schemes in the preseason. Once the Rams settled into their zone, they didn’t face another threat from the Huskies.

With one preseason contest remaining, DeAveiro highlighted the importance of taking care of the ball and improving communication on the defensive end. 

“We’re our own worst enemy sometimes. We still lack communication, it’s a young group,” said DeAveiro. “It’s hard enough to get men to talk in general [and] to get young men to talk in the game is even harder.” 

UP NEXT: The Rams head to Humber College for their final preseason game. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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