Despite defensive deficiencies, Rams win shootout with Waterloo

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Ryerson’s #10 Filip Vujadinovic

(TORONTO, ON)—The #5 nationally-ranked Ryerson Rams (3-0) survived a shaky start Saturday against a young Waterloo squad, eventually cruising to a 96-86 victory at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Coming off a big road win against #8-ranked McMaster, the Rams appeared to have carried momentum into the game, with Adika Peter-McNeilly (4th-year, Scarborough, Ont.) connecting with Filip Vujadinovic (2nd-year, Burlington, Ont.) for the first-blood alley-oop.

“I try. Just something to get the crowd going, get our team going, get the juices flowing,” said Peter-McNeilly, who previously displayed his knack for the highlight-reel play with a fourth-quarter dunk to help seal the Marauders’ fate Wednesday.  “Teams might focus on me more, but if they do, I’ma just kick it out and let other guys start it.”

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Ryerson’s #21 Adika Peter-McNeilly

Peter-McNeilly led the Rams’ charge with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, with four other players  — Vujadinovic  (17 pts, 9 reb, 2 blk), Juwon Grannum (14 pts, 5 reb, 3 stl), Ammanuel Diressa (20 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast) and Roshane Roberts (12 pts, 5 ast)— reaching double digits in scoring.

But while the Rams were lighting it up on the offensive side of the ball, they struggled defensively from the get-go — allowing the Warriors (0-4) to grab 13 offensive boards. More importantly, they had key defensive lapses that allowed Waterloo to gain a 23-22 lead by the end of the first quarter, and foul trouble (all five starters finished with at least 3 personal fouls) that allowed the Warriors to shrink a 21-point lead to just 7 during the fourth.

“We weren’t really happy about how we played defence,” said Diressa (3rd-year, Toronto), who played 38 minutes.  “There were times in the game where we locked up and played a little better, but overall we weren’t happy with our defence at all.”

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Waterloo’s #7 Ben Davis lines up against Ryerson’s #4 Ammanuel Diressa

The Warriors were led by fourth-year guard Ben Davis (Mississauga, Ont.), whose 33 points, 7 rebounds and four steals kept the pace for a team that had four players foul out.

“We kept coming out in spurts; we need to be more consistent,” said Davis. “[In our games vs. Toronto and Ryerson] we just got to see where we are, and obviously where other teams are. We have a young team, we have a bunch of rookies and it’s a process.”

The Warriors will close out 2015 with three straight games at home: vs. Laurier (Nov. 21), York (Nov. 27) and Queen’s (Nov. 28). Meanwhile, the Rams will finish the year on the road with tilts with Windsor (Nov. 18) and #7-ranked Western (Nov. 20).

By Charles Vanegas (Twitter: @charlesvanegas, Instagram: @charlesvanegas

 

Photos by Charles Vanegas

Edited by Drew Ebanks

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