Sunday, January 08, 2012

Basketball: OUA East Men: Rams, Blues go 2–0; Lions not so lucky

Good teams taking advantage of the weak teams in their schedule should be the least of a team’s expectations, even if they do not admit it. For two of the three Toronto-based hoops squads, who have been feeling the burn of a sub-.500 season, those expectations were in play as they went 2–0 this weekend. 

The Toronto Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams (both 5–5) are keeping pace with each other, each defeating the RMC Paladins and Queen’s Gaels (both 0–10) to keep pace with each other.

The Blues really needed this, after letting the OUA West toss them around like rag dolls in November, who had a relatively slow 3–5 start this fall, put the RMC Paladins and Queen’s Gaels away 92–36 and 69–56 respectively. The games weren’t close, as the Blues kept the Paladins at bay with five players scoring double digit points—and three double digit players against the Gaels. Blues G Justin Holmes made the most of his playing time this weekend, with 10 and 21 points in each game. 

While beating the Paladins and Gaels were a given, the Blues very much needed to keep pace with their downtown Toronto rivals. The Rams, tied with Toronto for third in a loose OUA East, put Queen’s and RMC in their place. Their 78–50 win over Queen’s was a tremendous defensive effort. The Rams allowed 16 points in the second and third quarters, forcing 26 turnovers from the Queen’s squad. Their 92–19 win over RMC is almost comical, really, but on the surface of it, the Rams seem to have it together. I could actually see them defeating Toronto down the road, shutting down a Blues squad trying to figure out its identity as an offense and defense. They will have a chance Jan. 18 to show their mettle.

By the way, the York Lions, that third Toronto squad, are having a nightmarish season, and this weekend was only a small sample of their woes. The Lions hit the Ottawa-Carleton iceberg this weekend, losing to the Ravens and Gee-Gees 90–54 and 92–71 respectively. It is this very iceberg that Toronto and Ryerson will have to navigate next weekend.

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