(TORONTO, ON) – Mid way through their season, and heading into the Christmas break, the Lancer men’s basketball team are back on an even keel after dropping a 64-84 decision to the top-ranked Ryerson Rams, while the Lancer women were upset 55-59 by the 8th ranked Rams, tasting defeat for the first time this season.
The Lancer men were 4-3 and the women were a 7-0 going into the Matamy Athletic Complex in Toronto, hoping to start the Christmas break on a joyous note. But, neither Ryerson club was in a hospitable mood, in their only pairing with Windsor this season.
Where the Lancer women had to relinquish their undefeated record, allowing their counterpart to advance to 6-1 on the season, good enough for first place in the East, the male Rams defended their undefeated record of 7-0 as they cruised to victory past the Lancer men.
Earlier in the season, Lancers head coach Chris Oliver rightly shrugged off the loss of guard Alex Campbell (to graduation) and all 2015-16 Canadian rookie of the year Isaiah Osborne (who left the Lancers for a full ride scholarship to the University of Texas-El Paso) by saying, “It’s not like you ever replace a player. You just do things different with what you have.”
But, Windsor clearly did not look like the same team who defeated Ryerson last year during the regular season; and gave the Rams a mighty scare in the 2015-16 OUA semi-final play-offs.
Ryerson set the pace early in the opening frames of both halves. Although the Rams virtually doubled the offensive output of the Lancers 21-11 by the end of the first quarter, the Lancers only trailed 33-42 at the half. Again, the Rams doubled the output of the Lancers 26-13 in the all important third quarter, wherein they enjoyed a 27 point lead; the largest in the game.
Although Windsor nearly matched the Rams on the boards, 50-52, and regular scoring opportunities, 73-75, the home team converted 40% of their regular field goals, mainly in the paint, compared to the Lancers 28.8% from mid-range.
They also bested their guests 31.3% to 22.0% from 3-point range.
Defense accounted for much of the difference as the Rams came up with fifteen steals and 4 blocked shots while the Lancers only tallied 4 and 1, respectively. Ryerson also had better ball movement and dished out eighteen assists, twice as many as their challengers.
The top guns for the Rams were starters Roshane Roberts, Juwon Grunnum, and Adam Voll, who scored 19, 18, and 13 points respectively. Voll also tore down twelve rebounds to record the game’s only double-double.
Of the Lancer starters, only senior point guard Mike Rocca scored in double figures. The Sarnia native finished the game with a team high 16 points, along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Amongst the Lancer reserves, Laurier transfer Luke Allin scored 12 points while his running mate, Andy Oriakhi, added 11.
Unlike the men in blue and gold, it was the Lancer women who set that pace to lead 30-24 at the half before letting the Rams back in it to win it. In fact, the Lancers were ahead 42-37 after three quarters but, with a minute to play, the Rams clawed ahead by two. Then, Cara Tiemens dropped a 3-pointer to spread the lead to five.
Fifth year Windsor guard Caitlyn Longmuir responded with a trey of her own, but it was too little to late.
Despite the Lancers being held under 60 points for the first time this season, Windsor post Emily Prevost played another strong two-way game in the losing effort.
Both Lancer clubs will now break for exam and holiday season, and continue the perpetual process of rebuilding and reshaping their competitive postures in pursuit of their annual goal to win a national championship.
For the women, it was only two short years ago when they capped a run of 5-straight, primarily on the annual strength of their signature defensive intensity and bench depth.
For the men, it’s a time of transformation which coach Oliver describes as, “A team that was ball dominant, and created offence off of the dribble to a team whose offense come from good ball rotation.”
In both cases the next test of their March Madness preparedness comes when the York Lions pay a visit to the Dennis Farrell Fieldhouse, at 6:00pm and 8:00pm on Friday, January 7, 2017, to kick-off the second half of the season.