Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams claim ownership of the city with Battle For The 6ix win over Varsity Blues

By Christian Ryan

TORONTO - Roshane Roberts put up a career-high 25 points to lead the Ryerson Rams to a 96-76 victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the ‘Battle for the 6ix’ Friday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

The victory, besides laying claim to the city of Toronto, places the Rams in a lock for third in the OUA East with last weekend’s opponents, the Ottawa Gee-Gees. As the season trudges into its late, crucial stages, wins like this are an opportunity for the Rams to step up, both as a team and on an individual level.

One of those who stepped up is Roshane Roberts (Vaughan, Ont.), who not only scored a game and career high of 25 points, but sunk a staggering seven of eight attempts from three. As the senior guard celebrates scoring his OUA career high, he reflects on his previous career high, which was against the Ryerson Rams in 2014 as a member of the Queen’s Gaels.

“It’s a relief,” Roberts laughed. “The hard work I put in this summer is starting to show.”

As the Varsity Blues consistently answered everything the Rams threw their way to keep the game close, there was no clear victor in the early stages of the game. However, every time the Rams needed a comeback boost, Roberts was there with a high-pressure three. As the Blues defence locked in on team star Manny Diressa (Toronto, Ont.), Roberts took advantage of the freedom that coverage afforded.

“I just didn’t think about it,” Roberts said. “Going into the game, I knew Manny would be double teamed. Our coach gave us a lot of confidence going into the game and we just got ready to spot up and shoot the ball.”

“Manny draws so much attention from opposing defences, the guys just have to be ready and confident to take them and knock them down,” Rams assistant coach Borko Popic said. “‘Ro’ certainly did that tonight… Guys feed off the energy that he brought. I’m happy for ‘Ro’.”

Despite the heavy coverage, Diressa still put up a solid 20 point performance. J.V. Mukama (Hamilton, Ont.) also carried over a strong presence from the previous weekend, posting a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Leaving the game late with a leg injury, Popic was confident that the injury will not see the clutch guard sidelined.

Energy was high, post-game, as players openly cheered and celebrated before a packed Mattamy Athletic Centre. The #BattleForThe6ix brought out fans of both teams hoping to lay claim to university basketball in the city of Toronto, and the impact a full house has on a program was evident in the way the Rams played off the crowd.

“It’s Friday night, and we’ve got a great crowd,” Popic said. “There’s a good energy in the building. Our guys fed off of it and we were able to close it out.”

The Rams hit the road for the next few games, starting with another Toronto rivalry. The ‘Subway Series’ rears its head as the York Lions welcome the Rams into their den Wednesday, February 7th at Tait McKenzie Gym for an early 1:00 p.m. tipoff on School Day.

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