As the OUAs have resumed once again, the men’s basketball team played their first game of the 2022 season against their hosts, the Ryerson Rams, on Wednesday, February 9.
It was a ‘back and forth thriller’, where the Lions managed to outscore the Rams by 10 points in the first quarter. However, the Rams came into their own in the remaining quarters by leading the scoreboard in small increments until the very end, where they defeated the Lions 100-97.
The Rams Head Coach David DeAviero was proud of the way his team played, stating in a Ryerson Rams recap of the game that “The team is very unselfish; they move the ball and a point for any one of us is a point for all of us.” This strategy worked for the Rams once again as they beat the Lions 80-73 in their away game three days later on Saturday, February 12.
The Lions were eager to host the Rams at the Tait Mackenzie gym, after they lost against them by just three points. While the game on Saturday against the Rams (fourth seed in the East) was another close one, the Lions came up short once again.
The first quarter went the Lions’ way, with both the defence and offence doing their part in keeping the Rams at bay. However, the Rams made a comeback in the second quarter, scoring 14 points and restricted the Lions to only seven points.
Throughout the game, the Lions’ offence maintained their aggressive stance with their star player, Chevon Brown, putting up 21 points for the Lions on the scoreboard, becoming the leading scorer for the second time since rejoining the lineup.
Brown cites his training routine as the reason for his performance. “I train with my trainer five days a week and we work on trying to be consistent in every aspect of the game. Our strength and conditioning coach is getting me back to the physical shape I need to be in.”
However, with a crumbling defence, the Rams made use of rebounds and turnovers to maintain their lead. There was also a breakdown in terms of communication, where plays were not being executed consistently, which further backed the Lions into a corner.
“We played really hard for our first game back after a two-month hiatus,” Brown says in response to the breakdown of team coordination later on in the game. “We just needed to make minor tweaks to alter the outcome of that game.”
On behalf of the Rams, point guard Ankit Choudhary remained a leading scorer in both games against the Lions until he was fouled out in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
Speaking more on this, the Head Coach Nate Phillipe post-game stated, “We’ve played an extremely difficult schedule. It’s been an uphill battle, and we’ve continued to fight to give ourselves chances. At the end of the day, it all comes down to consistent execution down the stretch.”
In regard to the new scheduling of the OUAs, Chevon Brown says, “Our team is in must win situations nightly, because we had one of the toughest starts of the season, playing not only one but two of the top five teams in Canada.”
The Rams are looking forward to continuing their winning streak against the Toronto Varsity Blues and are hopeful for a chance at the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Lions aim for back-to-back wins against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks when they face off on Saturday, February 19.
The Lions men’s basketball team ended their five-game losing streak by blowing out the Ridgebacks 112-68 on Wednesday, February 16. Currently, the Lions are ranked seventh on the OUA East Conference’s standings after swapping positions with the Ridgebacks.