Ryerson’s men’s basketball team travel to Ottawa this weekend in search of an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship.
The Rams will look to win the Wilson Cup for the first time in school history when the final four teams face off starting Friday.
Ryerson will face the Carleton Ravens in semifinal action. The Rams lost to Carleton earlier this season 91-73 in a game dominated by Ravens forward Thomas Scrubb, who recorded a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Jahmal Jones led the way for the Rams in defeat, scoring a team-high 17 points to go along with nine rebounds. Ryerson hasn’t beat the defending Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champion Ravens in more than a decade, something not lost on Jones who believes that could help the team.
“We haven’t beat Carleton since I’ve been here. We have nothing to lose.”
The Rams’ fifth-year point-guard also says the team is relishing the role as the underdog, “There’s no pressure on us, people don’t expect us to win. The pressure is on Carleton and Ottawa because they’re one and two.”
The third-ranked Rams’ only two losses of the season were at the hands of Carleton and Ottawa respectively.
Last season, the Rams lost to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the OUA semifinals.
Jones, who was named an OUA first-team all-star this week, says winning the Wilson Cup tournament would be a boost as being the best team in the province means the Rams are the best team in the country and would improve their seeding in the CIS Final 8.
Fellow fifth-year player Jordan Gauthier says credit for Carleton’s level of play goes to head coach Dave Smart.
“They have a fantastic system with him at the helm. He really gets guys to maximize their potential.”
Gauthier says regardless of the history between the two teams the Rams expect to win.
“If I’ve ever been on a team that can win everything, it’s this one.”
If the Rams win they will face the winner of the other semifinal between tournament host Ottawa and the Windsor Lancers in Saturday’s championship game.