By David Morassutti
Ryerson’s men’s basketball team defeated the Lakehead Thunderwolves Saturday night by a score of 93-71 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) to advance to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semifinals.
Adika Peter-McNeilly and Ammanuel Diressa led the way with 19 points each.
Ryerson got off to a slow start to the game with Lakehead outscoring the Rams 23-19 in the opening quarter. They had a tough time containing centre Bacarius Dinkins who scored 10 straight points, forcing Ryerson to match him up with Kadeem Green.
“Kadeem is a luxury for us, he is an elite shot blocker in the CIS. His length, his athleticism and his activity is very good around the rim and without him we probably do not win those games against Carleton and Ottawa (in the past) and hopefully he can continue for four or five games,” said Patrick Tatham, interim head coach.
Ryerson came out strong in the second quarter, outscoring Lakehead 31-11, by spreading the ball around and forcing Lakehead to turn the ball over. Peter-McNeilly finished the half with 17 points, going three for six from three-point range with Ryerson holding on to a 48-36 lead going into halftime.
With both Ryerson and Lakehead scoring 17 points in the third quarter, the home team was looking to put the game away heading into the final quarter.
The Rams came out hot in the fourth and did not look back, ultimately winning the game by a score of 93-71.
Ryerson dominated with 27 points coming from bench players while Lakehead only had 11. Turnovers were a major problem for the visiting team, who had 17 turnovers while Ryerson only had nine.
Peter-McNeilly believes that on the defensive side of the ball consistency will be important but has no problem going up against any guard.
“Sometimes offence wins basketball games but defence wins championships. I am confident against any team, our group of guards are better than any group of guards,” Peter-McNeilly said.
When asked about the challenge that lies ahead with a game against the University of Windsor March 11, Tatham said that the team will take it one game at a time.
“We have this saying right now to be uncommon, have an uncommon approach and just try to do things differently that what has been done in the past. With the Final Four here at home and an opportunity to put a banner and win an OUA championship for the first time in school history, that is what we are going for,” Tatham said.
The Rams’ next game will be against the Windsor Lancers March 11 at the MAC, where they look to get revenge from their loss back in November.