Rams clash with Badgers in OUAtv Marquee Matchup
BURLINGTON, Ont. – Two of the top teams in the country will meet Friday when the No. 4 ranked Ryerson Rams (13-0) travel to St. Catharines, Ont. to take on the No. 6 ranked Brock Badgers (8-4) in the OUA.tv Marquee Matchup.
Fans can catch all the action between the Rams and Badgers streaming live on OUA.tv.
General admission tickets and courtside options for the Paint the Meridian Red games are available through Ticketmaster online. Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $35 for courtside.
Not only are these two teams some of the best in the country on the court, but also in the stands, as strong fan bases from both Ryerson and Brock will pack the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines for one of the biggest games of the year.
Ryerson comes to town on Friday unbeaten through 13 games this season and you'd have to go all the way back to a 96-92 defeat to Guelph on Feb. 17, 2016 to find their last conference loss.
The Badgers have been a streaky team in 2016-17 but a win on Friday night would see them run their winning streak to four games for the second time this season. After four straight wins to open the year, the Badgers dropped both games on their Ottawa road trip. Following an 86-82 win at Laurentian, Brock dropped two tight contests to Nipissing and Lakehead before stringing together three straight wins heading into Friday.
In their previous meeting on Feb. 2, 2016, a raucous pro-Rams home crowd fuelled Ryerson to a 104-79 thumping of the Badgers with former Ryerson standout and OUA all-star Aaron Best scoring a game high 28 points. Badgers forward Dani Elgadi (Waterloo, Ont.) countered with a team-high 27 points in the loss. If Brock is to hand Ryerson their first loss of the season, the former OUA Rookie of the Year will need a big game on Friday night.
Brock will need a find a way to contain an explosive Ryerson team that is averaging 93 points per game, to lead both OUA and U SPORTS. A major reason for their success this season has been their ability to make shots from beyond the arc as the Rams are first in the conference, averaging 12.4 three-pointers per game. Defensively, Ryerson is also one of the stingiest teams in OUA as they've held the opposition to conference lows in field goal percentage (35.5) and three-point percentage (27.8).
It will be a battle of the boards on Friday night as both teams rank in the top three in rebounds per game. The Rams rank second in the conference with 41.8 rebounds per game, just 0.8 rebounds ahead of those pesky Badgers.
The Badgers are led once again this year by the aforementioned Elgadi who is the only player averaging a double-double this season with 13.8 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game, which ranks second in the conference.
Now in his third season in OUA, Badgers guard Johneil Simpon (Toronto, Ont.) continues to develop and ranks second on the team behind Elgadi averaging 12.8 points per game. Simpson comes into Friday's game coming off his biggest performance of the year after he dropped a game-high 22 points coming off the bench in an 82-64 win over York.
For Ryerson it begins with fifth-year guard Adika Peter-McNeilly (Scarborough, Ont.) who ranks fifth in the conference with 19.6 points per game. Through 13 games, the Scarborough, Ont. native is having an MVP calibre season as he also leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game.
In his second season with the Rams, Ammanuel Diressa (Toronto, Ont.) has taken another step forward and is averaging 18.1 points per game after scoring 14.9 a season ago. Diressa, who spent two seasons at Tennessee Tech in the NCAA before joining Ryerson, appears poised to be an OUA all-star for the second time in as many seasons after being named to the second-team last year.
Now in his fifth year with Ryerson, forward Juwon Grannum (Mississauga, Ont.) is having a breakout season as he looks to lead the Rams to their second straight Wilson Cup title. Playing a much bigger role on a Rams team with U SPORTS championship aspirations, Grannum is averaging 10.8 points per game, third on Ryerson behind the previously mentioned Peter-McNeilly and Diressa.
A year after a record 2,887 fans packed the Meridian Centre for the Badgers home opener versus Lakehead, Brock is hoping to surpass that total this time around as they look to "Paint the Meridian Red" on Friday night. In addition to the two varsity basketball games, there will be entertainment throughout the evening including giveaways, half-court shot contests and a performance by professional basketball dunker Jordan Kilganon.
The Quest for the Cup Campus Tour, fuelled by Pioneer, will also be on site at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines to promote OUA student-athletes and competitions with an interactive OUA booth featuring contests, games and prizes, along with displays and promotional materials.