SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. - The Ryerson Rams opened their season with a splash on Friday night, taking home an 84-58 victory over host Algoma Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie.
Kicking off their season on the road, the Rams were looking to make a statement straight out of the gate. The team enters the 2017-2018 season as back-to-back defending OUA Champions. Focused on building on that success rather than relying on it, opening the season on top - particularly on the road - was a key step for the team.
The first half would prove a worrisome back and forth as the teams vied for early dominance. Having only managed seven points against Ryerson’s 17 in the first quarter, the Thunderbirds took a bold and aggressive turn in the second quarter. With a strong offensive output by Jermaine Lyle (Kitchener, Ont.), they would score 21 points to bring the tally to 35-28 for the Rams at halftime.
Returning from halftime revitalized, the Rams would match the 21-point output of Algoma in the third quarter and outdo it with a 30-point fourth quarter. Equally strong was the defensive play of the Rams, as they nearly doubled the defensive rebound tally of the Thunderbirds 30 to 16. This kept Algoma off of the scoreboard while allowing the Rams to continue to build a lead before the final buzzer saw them take the win.
While the match gave fans a first glimpse at the new full Rams lineup, it also marked the regular season debuts of multiple highly touted recruits. Zubair Seyed (Cambridge, Ont.) and Liam O’Leary-Orange (Toronto, Ont.) impressed with six and 10 points, respectively. However, it was 7’2 phenom Tanor Ngom (Dakar, Senegal) who truly made is arrival to the OUA known with 13 points, six blocks, eight rebounds, and a steal.