Players on the No. 4-ranked Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team had the chance to wash a bitter taste from their mouths when they travelled to Ottawa to take on the No.1-ranked Carleton Ravens and No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees this past weekend.
It wasn’t that long ago the Rams were bounced from the playoffs at the hands of the Gee-Gees (70-74), leaving the Rams with that bitter taste. The loss destroyed any chance they had at the 2013 Wilson Cup final. To add insult to injury, the defeat also put an end to the Rams’ shot at the 2013 National Championships.
Despite a formidable effort on both nights, the Rams left Ottawa empty-handed. During their weekend games the Rams lost to the Ravens 110-68 and then to the Gee-Gees in a tight fought game 90-86.
Despite the losses, players felt there were things they could take away from the games.
“Of course we lost both games, but I do think there were positives from both games,” said second-year forward Juwon Ogunnaike-Grannum. “Our ability to stay composed no matter the score, stopping their transition game and against Ottawa showing our ability to fight and be resilient. I have no doubt that we are right there with Ottawa, there is not much difference between us at all.”
The aftermath of last year’s loss still weighs in players’ minds, but according to Aaron Best, a third-year guard, that isn’t their focus right now.
“It was the first time we were seeing them since that game and obviously, playing them, that is going to be in the back of your head,” Best said. “As far as our goal towards the end of our season, this game is just another opponent that we have to take care of on the road.”
After this weekend’s games resulted in the Rams first back-to-back losses of the year, the tone hasn’t changed.
“The difference between us and them is that we have so much room to improve and we have so much determination to show how good we are,” said Best.
With rematches scheduled against both teams two weeks from now at the MAC, and potential playoff match-ups later in the season, the team still has a chance to hit back.
This year, Ryerson will be hosting the Wilson Cup for the second year in a row.
“It is bigger than words. The Wilson Cup should have been at a school in the West this year,” said Ogunnaike-Grannum. “We were granted another opportunity, so we know we can’t squander it this time. It just means everything for the school and us.”