HALIFAX — On their only off day this weekend, the Ryerson Rams prepare in an empty arena. Only media and staff are inside the shell of an arena in the heart of Nova Scotia’s capital. But it won’t stay that way for long. A loud, boisterous crowd is expected to greet the Rams in their semifinal game tomorrow versus the Dalhousie Tigers.
“It’s not going to be an easy task,” said head coach Roy Rana following the practice. “We know them well, they know us well. We’re just going to have to play our game and be fundamentally better than they are.”
With a brief practice and shootaround, the Rams prepare. The Tigers, who went 16-4 in the regular season this year, pose a difficult challenge to the No. 1-ranked Rams, who are desperate to avoid playing in a third consecutive bronze medal game.
The Tigers finished atop the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) standings this season and went on to capture the AUS Championship with a 63-60 win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
Kashrell Lawrence led the team in scoring this year with 15.2 points per game. He also took home the Ken Shields Award for student-athlete community service. Ritchie Kanza Mata, a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award, provides the Tigers with a solid backcourt.
“Their big thing is they want to slow down the tempo,” said fifth-year forward Juwon Grannum. “So we need to make an effort to play our way and not play to the other team.”
Dalhousie is a familiar team to Rams players and coaches. They have met a couple of times over the past two years, most recently this past October when they beat the Rams at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) in the pre-season.
“It’s just very scrappy,” said Grannum. “Offensively, they don’t run the most complex stuff, but they get it done. And they’re really relentless on the offensive and defensive glass, so those are going to be key points in our game tomorrow.”
Tipoff for tomorrow’s game is at 2:30 p.m. EST. The game will be streamed free online and the Ryersonian will have comprehensive multimedia coverage on our website and social media.