Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams drop 2019 opener to No. 1 Carleton

By Luke Bellus

TORONTO - The No. 2 ranked Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team was back in action Saturday afternoon, losing to the No. 1 Carleton Ravens 76-69.

It was the teams' first meeting since the 2018 U SPORTS National semifinal when the Rams got the better of the Ravens.

Fifth-year Myles Charvis said, “Last year we ended their season at nationals but the year before that they did the same thing to us so that right there alone creates a big rivalry.”

In a game between two of the best teams in the country it was the Ravens throwing the first punch taking a 12-0 lead in the opening minutes.

This lead would prove to be too much to overcome and although the Rams did their best they never had a lead in this game.

“They came out with energy and we didn’t,” said Rams assistant coach Borko Popic. “We were flat on both ends of the court to start, they made shots and we settled for tough ones.”

Rams forward Jean-Victor Mukama put an end to the run with a mid-range basket but the Rams still had a long road ahead of them.

That long road consisted of good defence and making contested buckets on the other end of the court.

The Rams did just that and began to chip away at the lead. The Rams only gave up another 12 points in the quarter and added 15 of their own, which cut the Carleton lead to 24-15 after the opening 10 minutes.

Big for the Rams in the quarter was Mukama; his eight points lead all players and he had the Rams first five points of the second quarter.

The quarter saw both teams flexing their defensive muscles by forcing turnovers, blocking shots and getting defensive rebounds limiting the other team’s chances.

But it was Carleton who flexed their muscles better in the quarter capping the half with a 44-26 lead.

The 18-point deficit was the largest halftime gap that the Rams have had to deal with this season.

A scary moment for the Rams in the opening minute of the third quarter when centre Tanor Ngom went down with an injury. Ngom was down on the floor for a few moments but walked off the court to the team’s bench with some assistance before heading back to the locker-room.

Ngom would return to the game with his team still trailing by double digits but he showed no signs of any injury.

The Rams were able to have success in the third and cut the Ravens lead by seven points, but they still were down 11 points going into the last 10 minutes.

The opening five minutes of the fourth quarter saw the Rams build off of the solid third quarter, and this time it was point guard Myles Charvis leading the charge. Time after time Charvis would drive the basket and make the tough layup.

“He was aggressive,” Jean-Victor Mukama said about his teammate. “There’s going to be moments like that where he steps up and carries the offence and it’s just a matter of feeding the hot hand.”

But seemingly every time the Rams made a push the Ravens pushed right back and yet, with four minutes to play the lead was down to seven.

Ryerson would trim it to as low as five points in the final minutes of the game but that was as close as it got and they walked away from their first game of 2019 with a loss.

Charvis said, “The 12-0 run that they had at the beginning of the game really hurt us, but we’ll learn from it and get better because of it.”

The Rams won’t have much time until their next big test as the Ottawa Gee-Gees are in town Sunday afternoon. Popic said, “The beautiful thing is within 24 hours we play the next one. Some of that anger will need to be channelled the right way and get ready for Ottawa.”

Ryerson will be looking for their first win of the new year Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

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