Toronto, ON – In front of a raucous crowd the Ryerson Rams and Brock Badgers treated all in attendance to a back-and-forth tit-for-tat classic. An even tilt throughout, this game wound up needing an extra frame to decide a winner as the visiting Brock Badgers (5-0) triumphed 80-75 over Ryerson (2-2).
Brock sprinted out to an early lead, largely thanks to the play of their big 3: Johneil Simpson, Dani Elgadi and Cassidy Ryan.
As dominant as Brock looked in the first quarter, Ryerson was not about to get run out of their own building. Having difficulties solving Brock’s aggressive and disciplined defensive structure, they subbed in 7-2 Tanor Ngom who led the Rams back into the game with his length, defense, and finishing around the rim. Other notable Rams contributions came from Myles Charvis and JV Mukama. Ryerson took a 36-35 lead into the half.
Both teams were not shy from distance, but it was Brock, propelled by Johneil Brown and Ryan, a combined 5-of-11 from 3, who wound up being too much for Ryerson in the big moments, ultimately leading their team to an impressive road-win.
Even in a losing effort, Ryerson has much to be encouraged by the play of Senegalese big-man Ngom, who came off the bench midway through the first quarter shifted the tide of the game. His length and ability to control the painted area led to an offensive outburst from the Rams and simultaneously caused the Badgers to stall, unable to get quality inside looks thanks to the shot-altering defense of Ngom (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks). Ngom showed a lot of promise on both ends, exhibiting soft hands in roll scenarios and even trying his luck with a drive from top of the arc late in the game. He has a very high ceiling but this game did show he still has work to do in areas, most notably conditioning.
Other notables for Ryerson were the play of seniors Charvis (18 points, 3 assists, 4 steals) and Mukama (23 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, but 7 turnovers).
Charvis, the team’s lead point guard, was excellent at the point of attack, both offensively and defensively. While he struggled somewhat with his shot (33% and 2-of-7 from 3), he continuously found ways to get inside the heart of the defense and finishing. It’s not hard to see what makes Charvis the Rams’ ‘motor’, he’s vocal on both ends and leads by example.
Mukama, along with Charvis carried the offensive load in the second half, but did struggle with his shot, especially from distance (2-of-11). His form is solid, but on this night he had problems connecting. He managed to adjust his game, opting for a more inside focus. He was rewarded with 13 trips to the free-throw line, of which he made only seven.
In the winner’s circle, it was all about the 6-7 Ryan. Ryan was a force all night, finishing with 32 points, five rebounds and three steals. Ryan was dialed in, shooting 13-of-19 overall, and 3-of-4 from distance. Sporting a smooth southpaw stroke, Ryan showed the ability to score from everywhere, inside and out, hand in the face or not. Watching Ryan operate in and around the painted area was a treat – he understands and reads defenses well, flashing and showing in the high and low posts when the situation calls for it. It was his three-pointer late in OT that eventually iced the game.
Ryan did have some scoring support from Elgadi and Simpson. Elgadi, a rugged undersized 4 (of which Brock had a lot of, they never featured a traditional 5 all evening) is as energetic as they come. His shooting efficiency (5-of-15) was hurt by the presence of Ngom in the first half. While Elgadi finished with 13 points and five rebounds, the overall assessment of his game was he struggled with the length of Ngom, and foul trouble ultimately limited his effectiveness late in the game. Even so, Elgadi has bite to his game and is a visible difference maker on both ends.
Simpson was more conservative with his offense throughout the evening, and while the numbers suggest he struggled from 3 (2-of-7), he hit a big one in OT that helped secure the win. He has a very smooth stroke, but needs to be more shot-ready when the ball finds his hands.
All said and done, this game was a classic with both teams showing encouraging signs for the rest of the season.
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