Rams squeak by Ottawa to set up OUA title defence versus Carleton

Rams’ forward Ammanuel Diressa lays up two points for Ryerson in its 76-75 win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the OUA semifinal on March 3 at Carleton University. (Andrea Vacl/Ryersonian Staff)

This version adds some game detail and coach and player reaction. 

The Ryerson Rams advanced to the OUA finals and will compete in the national championships for the third year in a row.

The men’s basketball team beat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 76-75 in a semifinal contest featuring many lead changes.

“We’ve been in this situation before, so we know what it takes,” said  Adika Peter-McNeilly, Rams captain, who watched his team come from behind in the fourth quarter.

Peter-McNeilly notched 7 points himself, although that’s below his usual production. Forward Ammanuel Diressa led scoring for the Rams with 20 points, with Keevon Small adding 18.

“Sometimes when your shot’s not falling and you’re not getting touches – that’s why you have a deep team. We’re so confident in each other,” added Peter-McNeilly, who had been in foul trouble during the game. 

Indeed it was Rams’ forward Juwon Grannum’s jumper in the last minute of play that lifted Ryerson over Ottawa, which had led the game for most of the fourth quarter.

Still, throughout the game was neck and neck. At halftime the Rams led 35-34.

Near the end of the fourth quarter, the Gee-Gees were up 72-66 before the Rams edged ahead.

Then Ottawa’s Caleb Agada scored two free throws to put his team up by one before Grannum sealed the winning hoop for the Rams. Caleb led all scoring with 24, including six three-pointers.

Carleton earlier beat Brock to advance to the finals, which will be played on the Ravens’ home court at 7 p.m on March 4, Saturday.

The Rams are the defending OUA champions. Ryerson hosted the Wilson Cup in 2016 and beat Carleton at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Head coach, Roy Rana, said he is optimistic about the final game but, “it’s really really hard to play on this court against a dominant team.” He said his team will have to step it up.

Regardless of the OUA final outcome, both teams advance to the U Sports nationals in Halifax next weekend.

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