By Crina Mustafa
The Rams men’s basketball team dropped its second-straight game of the season to the Queen’s Gaels, recording over ninety points in a 100-105 loss on Nov. 7 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Basketball is a game of runs, and this game was full of them. The Rams got off to a hot start, posting a 9-0 run.
“We played against a good team, ranked ninth in the country,” said head coach Dave DeAveiro.
Rams guard Tyler Sagl was 3-3 to start the game, knocking down two three-pointers from beyond the arc and a mid-range jumper. He would finish the game tied for a team-high 22 points.
The offence flowed for the Rams in the first couple of minutes, then Queen’s made their first run.
DeAveiro mentioned that inexperience playing together as a team has been a factor early in the season.
“The difference between the teams we go up against is who has been on lockdown for nine months and who hasn’t,” said DeAveiro.
At the end of the first quarter, the Rams would go down two points to a buzzer-beating floater.
A major reason the Rams gave up runs was turnovers. They ended the game with 24 turnovers and Queen’s was able to capitalize in the first half with 20 points off of the team’s mistakes.
A key for the team going forward is to tighten up their possessions, both offensively and defensively.
“Our goal is to move the ball side to side. On defence, we want to try and get someone scrambling on the closeouts, that’s when we want to go in attack mode,” said DeAveiro.
The decision to pass the ball or score comes with practice and reps. DeAveiro stressed that turnovers occur when the team gets too selfish with the ball.
After going down by as many as eight points, the Rams were able to create a run of their own and go up 53-50 at the half.
A player who shone in the second half was rookie Aaron Rhooms. The Gaels double-teamed him from the start of the game, but Rhooms was able to find different ways to score a bucket.
“They did their research on me, that’s for sure,” said Rhooms.
After the game, Rhooms said he really wants to find a way to be more vocal and a leader for the team. He draws inspiration from Scottie Barnes, the Raptors’ star rookie who has taken Toronto by storm.
Rhooms added that he really wants to emulate Barnes’ energy both on and off the court.
The shots weren’t falling for Sagl in the fourth quarter, but Rhooms was able to score some crucial buckets to keep it to a two-possession game. The first-year guard scored seven of his 22 points on the afternoon in the game’s final quarter.
But eventually, tired legs and buckets made by Queen’s were enough to put the game out of reach for the Rams.
Although they start the season 0-2, the Rams are balancing their expectations.
“I think by Christmas, you’ll see that this is a really good team,” said DeAveiro.
UP NEXT: The Rams begin a four-game road trip to close out 2021, starting with a contest in North Bay Ont., against the Nipissing Lakers on Nov. 12. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.