The no. 2 ranked Gee-Gees secured a key victory in the battle for OUA East positioning, leading throughout and holding on for a 90-86 win over the no. 4 ranked Ryerson Rams in front of a packed Montpetit Hall on Saturday night.
Terry Thomas led all scorers with a season-high 29 points, and Caleb Agada notched a double-double for Ottawa with 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead the team. Ryerson got 20 points from Adam Best in the losing cause.
Thomas was electric at times, coming up with points at key moments to keep the Rams at bay. The game ebbed and flowed as the teams took turns heating up, with the best action reserved for the final frame.
Ottawa claimed a 47-37 halftime lead which was whittled down to 60-58 by the end of the third. A Jahmal Jones three-pointer at 1:20 left in the third got Ryerson within a basket at 57-55, and he finished off the frame with a tough runner in the lane.
Then came three minutes of furious action to start the fourth – Thomas hit a three-pointer and followed up with a now signature one-handed transition dunk. Jones answered for Ryerson with a quick trey of his own, which was immediately answered by a Mike L’Africain trey before the point guard worked a give-and-go alley oop to Thomas, re-establishing an eight point Gee-Gees lead at 73-65 with 7:20 to play.
“I’m playing with a bunch of great athletes. We all have roles and we have a lot of scorers on the team – it could be anyone’s night. Luckily it was mine,” said Thomas, who shot 12-for-18 from the field and was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
“We wanted our depth to wear them down, and we had energy coming out in the fourth quarter,” noted Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin.
Ottawa would need that early boost when the Rams hit back with a run of their own, keyed by a deep three by Jean-Victor Mukama. The Rams pulled within three at 83-80, forcing an Ottawa timeout.
After the Gee-Gees pulled ahead again, Mukama was back with another trey to pull within three again at 87-84. When a Jones three-pointer to tie rimmed out, Johnny Berhanemeskel was able to ice the game from the free throw line.
“The transition game really cost us tonight at times, despite the spectacular plays we also had a series of turnovers in the neutral zone because of poor decisions, trying to force it,” said Derouin, referring to the third quarter which saw Ryerson outscore Ottawa 21-13.
The Gee-Gees’ defensive ability, which prevented the Rams from running away in the third, was on display throughout the night, generating the transition chances with six steals and four blocks.
With the win, Ottawa moves to 12-1 in regular season play while Ryerson falls to 11-3.
1 2 3 4 F
Ottawa 23 17 24 30 90
Ryerson 17 20 21 28 86