TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men's basketball team opened their pre-season competition this evening against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane as part of the first ever event held at the new Mattamy Athletic Centre. In front of an excited crowd at Coca-Cola Court, the Golden Hurricane spoiled the party as they defeated the Rams 79-55.
Ryerson looked good out of the gate, as Bjorn Michaelsen (Otterburn Park, Que.) denied Tulsa's first possession with a block, energizing the crowd and leading to transition points for the Rams. Third year guard Jahmal Jones (Mississauga, Ont.) scored the first five points for Ryerson before the game started to open up.
Tulsa established an early presence in the paint, standing tall and often overpowering the Rams inside - a trend that continued for the majority of the game.
With three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Gavin Berry (Waterloo, Ont.) drained a three-pointer off a feed from Jones, staking the Rams to a 12-11 lead. Tulsa closed the quarter on a 6-1 run to lead 17-13 after 10 minutes.
A balanced scoring attack from Tulsa helped extend their lead throughout the second quarter. The Golden Hurricane used their substitutions effectively, often swapping five players at a time. This helped keep players fresh and they were able to use the transition game in the second quarter to their advantage. By the six minute mark, Tulsa had built a 10-point lead at 25-15.
Ryerson had difficulty penetrating the Tulsa defence and were forced to use the whole shot clock and had to settle for several long-range jumpers. Berry was able to use a pump-fake to perfection at the end of the shot clock, nailing a three-pointer with 2:35 remaining in the half to close the gap to nine at 32-23. Tulsa added a single basket in the remaining minutes to hold a 34-23 lead at the half.
Ryerson had their most offensive quarter in the third, scoring 18 points on the strength of strong play from leading scorers Jones and Jordon Gauthier (Windsor, Ont.). Defensively, the Rams changed their structure to a zone defence which held the Hurricane at bay for a short time, but a strong quarter from Rashad Smith (Plano, Tex.) helped Tulsa pull away with a 57-41 lead after three quarters.
Yannick Walcott (Toronto, Ont.) took the reins of the Rams offence in the fourth, scoring 10 of his team-high 13 points in the final frame. Freshman Matthew Beckford (Etobicoke, Ont.) had a strong debut in the blue and gold, scoring six points on 1-1 from three-point range and converting 10 of 12 free throws.
The Hurricane's Pat Swilling Jr. (New Orleans, La.) finished with a game high 16 points.
Next up for the Rams is an exhibition game against Seneca College on Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. as part of Orientation Week festivities.