Varsity basketball sees Blue Christmas this year

The Varsity Blues men’s basketball team faced the fifth-seeded Ryerson Rams at Maple Leaf Gardens in their last game before the winter break last Saturday, trying to get back in the win column after three straight losses and an abysmal record of 2-5.

The game began with much back-and-forth play between the two teams. Ryerson led for the majority of the first quarter. Fifth-year guard Alex Hill helped put the Blues back in contention, matching his career high of 35 points at the end of Saturday’s game. But Ryerson continued the dominating play and closed the first quarter with a small lead of 25-24.

The end-to-end play continued in the second quarter, and neither team was able to establish any momentum. Ryerson eventually increased their lead with basket after basket to push themselves ahead 34-28 as the quarter wound down.

The Rams’ Peter McNeilly led his team with a contribution of 20 points, responsible for almost half of his team’s score of 49-38 at halftime.

“We’re lucky to get a great offensive game from Alex [Hill],” comments head coach John Campell. “He kept us hanging around for a while.”

As the second half went underway, the Blues tried to catch up to the Rams but were unsuccessful. Hill and fellow veteran guard Matt Savel helped the Blues on the scoring end, with Savel adding 10 points to the Blues’ comeback attempt. Despite their efforts, the Blues’ were down 70-60 at the end of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter continued with the Rams in complete control of the court. The Blues’ sad defensive performance allowed Ryerson to take advantage, lengthening their lead over the quarter and exposing the Blues’ weak spots.

The University of Toronto couldn’t match Ryerson’s pace and eventually fell to the Rams by a score of 90-69 to mark their fourth straight loss of the year, giving the team a 2-6 record at the halfway point in the season and a win percentage of .250.

As Campbell looks ahead to the second half of the season, he’s hoping the team can make some changes and play a more complete game. “The biggest thing for [us] is to get healthy and last for a 48-minute game,” he says. “We do that and we can start to make some strides.”

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