Ryerson’s men’s basketball team is headed to the OUA Final Four after crushing the Laurier Golden Hawks, 105-59, in their quarter-finals match Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Rams were under pressure after their female counterparts defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the first half of a double-header at the MAC. But the men did not disappoint.
Led by Jahmal Jones’s 23-point, four-assists night, Ryerson was able to put on a show for the home crowd, scoring over 100 points for just the fourth time this year.
The game didn’t start out well for the Rams. The Golden Hawks were able to establish an early offensive rhythm and took a 14-11 lead just five minutes into the game.
But Ryerson wasn’t about to let that go on for too long.
Laurier’s Aiddian Walters was having his way at the start, but when he drove to the net to put the Golden Hawks ahead by five in the opening frame, Rams’ forward Kadeem Green stuffed Walter, giving the Rams possession.
Ryerson then went on an 11-2 run and took a 26-21 lead after the first quarter.
The Rams started to dictate the play in the second quarter. With help from Jones’s speed, Jean-Victor Mukama’s rebounding prowess and a late offensive surge from Adika Peter-McNeilly, Ryerson padded its lead to 13 points heading into the second half.
In the third quarter, the Rams started to pull away and, as the game wore on, it seemed like Laurier had given up and were just going through the motions.
By the fourth quarter, more players started coming off the bench. Towering 6-foot-8 Ryerson guard, Mukama, who finished the game with 10 points and six rebounds, put an exclamation point on the victory, slamming home a monstrous dunk and raising the crowd to its feet.
“We have the utmost confidence in our bench. We play against them in practice and they beat us up sometimes. We expect nothing but the best from them, and they showed that tonight.”
Ryerson finished the game with five players in double-digits and nine players with multi-basket games.
Jones said the bench players played a huge role in the victory.
“We’re a deep team and the 12 guys that dress are good enough to start,” said Jones. “We have the utmost confidence in our bench. We play against them in practice and they beat us up sometimes. We expect nothing but the best from them, and they showed that tonight.”
Ryerson will meet the Carleton Ravens, ranked No. 2 in the nation, in the OUA Final Four, at the University of Ottawa on Friday. Ryerson was trounced by the Ravens back in November. The Ravens, led by head coach Dave Smart — who has won 10 national championships with Carleton since 1999 — will be tough to handle, according to Ryerson’s guard Jordon Gauthier. But he says he is confident this year’s team can pull through when it matters most.
“If I’ve ever been on a team that can win everything, it’s this one right here.”