Photo by Hung Le

Rams host Lakehead, Guelph to kickoff 2017

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO – The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team opens the second half of their season this weekend when they host the Lakehead Thunderwolves and Guelph Gryphons at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

The Rams, currently ranked No. 5 in Canada, posted a spotless 7-0 record in the fall portion of the schedule and look to continue their winning ways this weekend. Ryerson has not lost at home in 30 straight regular and postseason games.

The Rams’ offence has been explosive this year, averaging 94.0 points per game through seven contests so far. That average is nearly 10 points better than Carleton, who ranks second.

Three players currently average double digit points for the Rams with Adika Peter-McNeilly leading the way with 18.0 points per game to sit sixth in the OUA and Manny Diressa right behind him in seventh with 17.8 points per game.

It’s not just the offence leading the Rams to victory, either, as their defence has allowed just 63.0 points against per game to rank second in the OUA. Ryerson leads the OUA in opponents’ field goal percentage, defensive rebounds, and steals – all key categories that have helped them contain their opponents.

Friday’s tilt will see the 2-5 Lakehead Thunderwolves visit the MAC. The Thunderwolves play tough defence, ranking fourth in the OUA allowing only 69.0 points against per game, but their offence has struggled, sitting second last in the league.

The Thunderwolves rebound well at both ends of the floor but particularly on the offensive side. They rank third in that department which helps them generate more opportunities to score. If the Rams can limit Lakehead’s second chance opportunities, and shut down their top dog in Bacarius Dinkins, Ryerson should emerge victorious.

After Friday’s game the Rams will shift their focus to the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday night. The 3-3 Gryphons currently sit second in the OUA Central and have a much more efficient offence to contain than Lakehead poses.

Guelph ranks fifth averaging 81.7 points per game, but the Rams should be able to put a solid game plan together to knock them off stride. The Gryphons shoot the fewest three-point attempts in the OUA and an OUA-best 26.3 free throw attempts per game, indicating their style of play is to clog the lane and drive to the hoop.

The Rams will look to stick to their defenders, deny entry into the lane, and force the Gryphons to take more outside shots. Senior forward Ahmed Haroon will be the key player Ryerson will look to shut down. Haroon comes into 2017 averaging 17.8 points per game.

Ryerson opens the 2017 calendar season at home against Lakehead on Friday night, followed by Guelph on Saturday night. Both games will be live on as well as Rogers TV Toronto.



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