TORONTO – Kadeem Green dominated his matchup against Lakehead's Bacarius Dinkins to the tune of 17 points and seven rebounds while keeping Dinkins limited offensively in the Rams 93-71 OUA quarter-final win on Saturday night.
"We played Lakehead earlier in the year, so I studied tape on him and his tendencies and then applied it to the game tonight," said Green on how he handled the matchup against Dinkins.
With the win, the Rams will advance and host the Wilson Cup Final Four as the top seed and will face the #5 Windsor Lancers in a semifinal. The #2 Ottawa Gee-Gees and #3 Carleton Ravens will face off in the other semifinal matchup.
After a back and forth start, the Rams found themselves trailing 23-19 at the end of the first quarter after Dinkins scored 10 of his game high 25 points on a personal run to quiet the raucous crowd.
Entering the second quarter, head coach Patrick Tatham went back to Green to stop Dinkins, and that sparked a boost in the Rams who outscored Lakehead 31-11 in the frame.
"I'm always preaching defence, after giving up 23 points in the first I was not impressed. So we hunkered down, and stopped giving up easy buckets to him at the rim and then held them to just 11 points in the quarter," said Tatham on the team's changed focus in the second quarter.
"We didn't really follow the game plan in the first, but in the second we did a better job of containing them in transition with the two point guards they have," added Adika Peter-McNeilly on the team's execution in the second.
Peter-McNeilly was a big part of the second quarter run as well, scoring 12 of his 19 in the period.
In the third quarter, Lakehead mounted a bunch of mini runs and hung with the Rams despite their repeated attempts at a knockout blow.
When Lakehead cut the deficit to just 11 at the 1:15 mark, coach Tatham made a wholesale lineup change back to the starters, and a Manny Diressa three-ball swung the momentum back to the Rams going into the fourth.
Diressa finished with 19 points on 6-of-12 from the field, and grabbed five rebounds as well.
Green got hot again at the beginning of the fourth, swishing jumpers from the baseline and blocking Dinkins attempts at the other end to lock up the 21-point victory.
Moving into next weekend the Rams are relishing the chance to win the school's first OUA championship on their home floor, and are prepared for the shots coming their way.
"I just think that it's that playoff mindset right now, and everyone has got to understand that every game is going to be a grind. Our rest is going to be crucial and at the same time everyone has to know that it's not going to be easy and it's all gonna be about guts and glory," said Tatham on how the team will adapt to high stakes, playoff basketball.
Tatham also talked about how the team's mantra this season, #BeUncommon, is so important down the stretch.
"It's a great opportunity to play at home for an OUA championship, and the motto we've been going with all year is being uncommon. We're hoping we can continue that uncommon approach and then next Friday and Saturday we will win an OUA championship at home."
Stay tuned to ryersonrams.ca for all Wilson Cup information.
Source: Ryerson Rams