Gray's 27 not enough to stay with Rams
TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team were 23-point winners Friday night, knocking off the Laurentian Voyageurs 91-68.
There was a buzz in the building on this Friday night and not the typical buzz that comes with a 7-7 team. When the game tipped off it felt like a playoff game.
That feel and moment was created not because of the Rams but because of a player on the Voyageurs who most people were there to see, Kadre Gray.
Gray won not only OUA Male Athlete of the year but U SPORTS Male Athlete of year as well for his efforts in the 2017-18 season. And he’s followed it up by scoring six points more per game this year than he did last year.
Going back to last season, Laurentian beat Ryerson when the Rams traveled to Sudbury in a game which saw Gray record a triple double with the stat line of 26 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.
But when it was time for the Voyageurs to make the trip to Toronto it was spoiled by Gray breaking his foot in the game prior and missing the end of the season.
On Friday night, for the first time since Nov. 2016, U SPORTS basketball fans would have the chance to see Gray take on the Rams in Toronto.
Rams assistant coach Borko Popic said, “He brings a lot to the table, he had a big first half and was able to get to his spots and get to the foul line.”
That big first half for Gray started with him getting 12 of Laurentian's opening quarter 22 points. And he followed that up with another nine in the second giving him 21 at the half.
Gray’s first half was solid but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Rams and they had a 51-38 lead after 20 minutes. At the half Ryerson was led by Jean-Victor Mukama with 14 points.
This was a game that Mukama said a few years ago he would’ve treated differently, “I think a few years ago I would’ve made it personal. I would’ve done everything I could to make sure I scored more points than him.”
Mukama added, “But I’ve learned from playing with my old teammates, Manny [Diressa] was a guy who scored 50 one game and wasn’t even celebrating. I’ve learned that you want your team to look good as a whole rather than just you.”
The individual and team success continued for the Mukama and the Rams in the second half, as they held Gray to just six points on 1-6 shooting. Meanwhile, Mukama added another 11 of his own to lead the way for Ryerson with 25 points.
Coming off of a convincing win against Laurentian and with a big road trip to Ottawa coming up on Jan. 25 – 26 it’s important Ryerson doesn’t lose focus and look past their opponent Saturday night.
Mukama said, “It all starts with the coaches, they remind us never to take anything for granted and to always respect the game, we know not to overlook any team because upsets happen all of the time.”
Ryerson will take on those Nipissing Lakers Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.