Rams rally for home victory in scrappy McMaster matchup

Written by: Christian Ryan; Photos by: Alex D'Addese

Another game of catchup ends in a big way for the Ryerson Rams, as they defeat the McMaster Marauders 72-69 at a packed Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday night.

The game marked the return of Patrick Tatham to the MAC. Now the head coach of the Marauders, Tatham lead the Rams to their maiden OUA title in 2015-2016 as interim head coach. With a special place in Ryerson basketball history, Tatham was welcomed back warmly by Rams players and coaching staff. However, both teams quickly got down to business.

“Patrick was a huge part of this program for many years,” assistant coach Borko Popic said, “but once the game gets going and preparation for the game, we’re focused on the team.”

Much like their home owner on Wednesday night, the Rams spent much of the scrappy, rebound-heavy first half playing catchup. Marauders phenom Miles Seward (Toronto, Ont.) held a large responsibility in the team’s early strong showing, eventually putting up a total of 29 points in only his third OUA start.

However, the Rams would find their scoring presence all throughout their roster, with four players putting up double digits. While the Rams trailed heavily in rebounds, letting McMaster keep the match close, their combination of more than doubling the Marauders’ steals and finding the basket from anywhere on the court allowed them to squeak by with a victory.

“Very well distributed offence,” Popic said. “We have a very deep team. It’s great when we can get contributions from a number of guys.”

JV Mukama (Hamilton, Ont.) has quickly become a leading figure for the Rams this season, as the fourth year posted his third double digit output in five starts.

“In terms of a team win, it was a little bit ugly,” Mukama said of the close match. “It’s hard to find a rhythm but we’re getting there. A win’s a win, and we’re always going to appreciate it.”

What the Rams really appreciate is the strong turnout of the Rams faithful to their two opening home games. Each game had the gym shaking with cheers coming from the packed stands.

“It’s a tremendous atmosphere, tremendous feeling to be at home,” Popic said. “Our guys certainly feed off the energy that’s brought by the fans.”
“The fans here are amazing!” Mukama agreed. “As a player, I played a lot of minutes today and sometimes I’d find myself being tired and as soon as you make a stop and we score you hear the crowd get loud and it just gives us the extra strength to keep going and play hard.”

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