TORONTO – "We will be the number one team on Monday, no ifs, ands, buts or maybes. Not being arrogant or cocky but I think our guys deserve it," said head coach Patrick Tatham to sideline reporter Nico Canavo immediately following the Ryerson Rams 87-80 victory over the No. 1 Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday night at Coca-Cola Court.
Barring any surprise from the selection committee, the Rams should be the new No. 1 team in the CIS when the rankings are released on Tuesday morning.
It was a back and forth affair all night long and following a two minute stretch of incredible shot making from both teams, and the Rams holding an 82-80 lead with 38 seconds remaining on the clock, JV Mukama and Manny Diressa teamed up to make the game sealing play.
With Ottawa's leader Mike L'Africain (5-16, 14 pts) trying to drive to the basket and Diressa guarding him, Mukama poked the ball free, which led to a fast break in which Gee-Gee big man Vikas Gill committed an intentional foul on Diressa, giving the Rams two free throws and possession.
"He had been playing well all night long, and I knew he was either going to try to get to the paint or set up a three for Vikas (Gill). So I stunted and knew he was either going to give it up or I was going to get a steal, and then he turned and I poked it away at the last second," said Mukama on how he played L'Africain in the waning seconds.
Diressa went on to make one of two, and then was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both to cap off his scoring exhibition of a game high 29 points off of 9/16 from the field and 4/8 from beyond the arc.
"It felt good since I've been in a slump lately, and it was a big game for the team and a lot of the guys that have been here for a while. I just took what I saw and what the defence was giving me and made plays from there," said Diressa on how he felt being the driving force in the biggest game of the season.
Following a Brandon Robinson miss on the other end, Mukama grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He calmly stepped to the line and made both free throws to squash any chance of a Gee-Gee comeback.
"If you go back on the replay, you can see me pointing to the sky and I just thanked God. This is the first time Ryerson (could have) a No. 1 team in the country, and yesterday we broke the drought of 16 years against Carleton. So I'm happy for coach PT and Jahmal (Jones) even texted me after, so yeah we're happy," saaid Mukama on the team's mood following this historic win.
The do it all guards Aaron Best and Adika Peter-McNeilly had strong performances as well in the win. Best finished with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds and Peter-McNeilly scored 12 points of his own while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Following this program-defining weekend, the Rams will hit the road next weekend to take on the Laurentian Voyageurs on Friday and the Nipissing Lakers on Saturday.
Source: Ryerson Rams
The McMaster men's basketball team gave the alumni something to cheer about on Marauder Weekend by beating the Western Mustangs 77-61 in Hamilton Saturday afternoon.
It was a physical game from the start, but the Marauders gave as good as they got and behind Leon Alexander and Trevon McNeil took a 20-12 lead after 10 minutes.
The Mustangs' Greg Morrow was doing his best to keep his team in striking range, but when Western's second-leading scorer Peter Scholtes went to the bench with two fouls, the Mustangs struggled to score. McMaster continued to push tempo, while Western wanted to slow things down.
With more scoring options available, McMaster bumped the lead up to 39-23 at halftime. Morrow was a one-man show, scoring 16 of Western's 23 points in the opening half, while Alexander had 13 and McNeil 10 for Mac.
The third quarter was not pretty basketball as Western stepped up their physical style and both teams were called for several fouls that destroyed any kind of flow. The Mustangs were able to trim the McMaster lead by a basket at 54-40 heading to the final stanza.
The final quarter saw McMaster find its swagger somewhat, as the lead went back up to 20 behind continued scoring from Alexander, McNeil, and Rohan Boney, who had a strong second-half for the maroon, before both teams cleared their benches to close out the game.
Alexander finished with 21 to lead McMaster, with McNeil chipping in 16 and Connor Gilmore, who made some tough inside hoops, adding 12. Morrow continued to do his thing, finishing with 34, while Scholtes scored 16 for Western.
The win is the eighth straight for the Marauders, who improve to 9 and 2 and move in front of the idle Brock Badgers for first-place in the OUA Central Division.
McMaster will next make the difficult road trip to Thunder Bay for games at Lakehead University on January 29th and 30th.
Source: McMaster Marauders
On Saturday (Jan. 23) the York University men's basketball team finished with a nail-biting 62-59 loss against the Queen's Gaels at the Tait McKenzie Centre.
The Lions took the first quarter with a 14-11 score to start off the game strong. Jayden Frederick (Scarborough, Ont.) played an excellent first quarter, putting up 2 points off of a rebound in a high-pressure situation, and then jumping up to deny a lay up from a Gaels player.
In the second quarter both teams picked up the intensity and the Gaels were able to narrow the score to 27-26 at the half. Tom Hobbs and Phillip Gillen were busy and made a difference, scoring several points each.
By the end of the third quarter the Gaels were able to break free with a two-point lead to head into the final quarter.
Lions Nathan Culbreath (Kingston, Ont.) had a fantastic layup midway through the action in the third quarter, Nana Adu-Poku (North York, Ont.) hit an excellent three-pointer, and Shane Reader (Toronto) grabbed two points before the final buzzer to end the quarter, but it didn't stop Gaels from finishing with the 21-19 edge in the period.
In the fourth quarter the teams were neck and neck to squeeze out the points needed to get the victory. Adu-Poku gave the Lions a one-point lead at 8:15 and Culbreath added two points in the last minute of play to make it 60-59, but two properly executed free throws by Gaels Mark Paclibar sealed the win for Queen's.
Gaels Sukpreet Singh had the most points in the game with 22, including nine made shots from the field, and four from the free throw line. Culbreath played a fantastic game for the Lions grabbing 20 points, with six shots made from the field and tallying an impressive eight points from the free throw mark.
With the result added to both team's records, the Lions remain in fourth place in the OUA East standings, while the Gaels are tied up with Ryerson in first place with 14 points each.
Within the week the Lions will hit the road to take on the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa, Ont. Tip off will be at 8pm on Jan. 29 (Friday).
Source: York Lions
Bacarius Dinkins had a monstrous 27-point, 17-rebound game, leading the Thunderwolves to a 73-65 win over the Algoma Thunderbirds.
The Wolves jumped out to a 19-15 lead after the first quarter, and extended it to 23-15 early in the second quarter. The Thunderbirds did find their rhythm on offense, closing the lead to a single point, with Lakehead in front 33-32 at the break.
Alex Robichaud provided his usual spark on defense, clocking 39 minutes, and dropped in a trifecta of three-pointers along with four free throws for 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
For the Thunderbirds, Nathan Riley scored 17 and Andre Barber had 15 points.
Lakehead hosts the McMaster Marauders next weekend in an OUA Central Division doubleheader, Friday-Saturday.
Source: Lakehead Thunderwolves
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men's basketball team dropped an 89-65 decision to the No. 2 nationally ranked Carleton Ravens on Saturday, January 23 at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
With the loss, the Blues drop to 3-6 but remain in third place in the OUA East division, while the Ravens improve to 8-2 and sit second in the North.
Fourth-year forward Manny Sahota led all players with 17 points, going 6-for-10 from the floor and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, while adding four rebounds and two assists on the night.
OUA leading scorer Devin Johnson added 15 points and a team-high five rebounds, three assists and two steals, while both Devon Williams and Miroslavic Jaksic had 11 points.
Sophomore guard Sage Usher added nine points and a game-high four steals in the loss.
The first half was a back and forth battle from the get-go. The game was tied 18-18 after the first quarter, and neither team held more than a five point lead for the majority of the first half. The Ravens pulled away late in the second frame, however, going into halftime on a 20-0 run as they took a 47-30 lead at the midway point of the game.
The Blues kept pace in the third quarter, led by an eight-point frame from Sahota, but still trailed 17 (64-47) heading into the final frame. The Ravens sealed the win, outscoring Toronto 25-18 in the fourth en route to the win.
Staley Mayambo led the Ravens with 16 points and five boards, while Connor Wood had 15 points, six boards and four assists. Three other Ravens had double digits in the win.
The Varsity Blues are back in action next Friday, January 29 when they travel to North Bay to take on the Nipissing Lakers. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. The game will also be streamed live on OUA.tv.
Source: Toronto Varsity Blues
Exactly 24 hours after a heartbreaking one point loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks, the Nipissing Lakers men's basketball bounced back in a big way.
After trailing for most of the game and battling back on a number of occasions, the Lakers came up with a 68-65 victory, to make it three wins in their last four games.
After finding themselves down 56-55, Nipissing caught fire and took the lead, one they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way.
In a low scoring, defensive affair, the Warriors took control of the first half of the game, especially the first quarter.
Down 19-12 after 10 minutes of play, Nipissing clamped down defensively, but continued to struggle on the offence, only putting up 13 points.
They did, however, hold Waterloo to just 14 to keep the game close.
All five of the starters were on the scoreboard, with Marcus Lewis leading the way with seven points, while Kalil Langston was big on the boards, picking up eight rebounds.
Down 33-25 in the third quarter, the Lakers struggled to get much traction and allowed the Warriors to extend their lead by five more points, making the score 51-38 after 30 minutes of play.
In the fourth, however, it was a different story.
Nipissing put up a monster 30 points and erased their deficit as they earned their third win in their past fourth game.
And that one loss is a one-point set back Friday night against Laurier.
Marcus Lewis led the Lakers with 17 points, Jordon Campbell had 15 points and nine rebounds and Marvin Ngonadi added 14 in the exciting victory.
Now sitting in a third place tie in their division, the Lakers will look to continue their hot play on home court next weekend as they host Toronto and Ryerson.
Source: Nipissing Lakers