Photo by Hung Le

Rams handle Gee-Gees, advance to OUA semis

By Luke Bellus

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team punched their ticket to the OUA semifinals when they beat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 84-61 on Saturday night.

Although the scoreboard shows a big win for Ryerson it doesn’t tell the full story. And Ryerson struggled at times against a team that they had no problems with in the regular season.

The first quarter was unlike the Rams, their offence wasn’t flowing, they settled for contested shot after contested shot and had five turnovers.

On the flip side of the court, Ottawa was 7-9 in the opening 10 minutes with three of those being three pointers.

But with all of that being said, and as poor of a quarter as it was for the Rams, they were tied at 19 heading into the second quarter of play.

Ryerson – for stretches – played better in the second, their offence got better looks, they got to the free throw line a number of times and forced Ottawa to take shots contested and late in the shot clock.

Unfortunately for Ryerson, the Gee-Gees pulled a few rabbits out of their hats at the end of those shot clocks and it was just a five-point lead for Ryerson at the half.

Jayden Frederick was playing in his first playoff game with the Rams and was a bright spot in the first half. He said, “I woke up this morning with a little extra energy than I normally have and knew that once I got into the game I was going to be able to make some plays.”

When asked about staying level headed with all this extra energy Frederick said, “When I let myself get too excited that’s when the turnovers and fouls start to happen, I try to do too much. That’s where staying engaged on the bench and cheering the guys on helps, it lets me get some of that energy out.”

The third quarter was when Ryerson did most of their damage, they scored 25 points – topping both of their first half quarter totals – and held the Gee-Gees to just 11, and they took a commanding 19-point lead into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter wasn’t smooth sailings for the Rams, however, and after a quick run from Ottawa to start the fourth, lead assistant coach Borko Popic called a timeout.

 

The message from Popic – filling in for Rams head coach Roy Rana – was simple according to Tanor Ngom. “Coach said to just ‘get back to playing championship level basketball’. We knew that we were able to get back to that level of basketball and once we did we took the game over.”

Ngom was front and centre for the second half as he led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the last 20 minutes of the game.

Ryerson will be back in action Wednesday night when they travel to Waterloo to play the Laurier Golden Hawks with a trip to the OUA Finals on the line.

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