The Ryerson University Men’s Basketball program has arrived!
Seven years in the making since taking over head coaching duties, and ironically exactly 16 years to the date, Patrick Tatham, Roy Rana and the entire Ryerson University made a very, very loud national statement, earning historic wins against two of the countries traditional powerhouses for the first-ever number one ranking in school history, in any sport.
The fifth-ranked Ryerson Rams pulled off, what has become a nearly impossible feat during the unimaginable, amazing and dominant Carleton Ravens decade long strangle hold of Canadian university basketball by convincingly knocking-off the number-two ranked Ravens 79-61 and number-one ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, completing the rare Ottawa basketball Capital Sweep.
The win over Carleton ended a 16-year, 33-game losing streak and handed the Ravens their first back-to-back Ontario Univerisity Conference (OUA) losses (Guelph Gryphons, Toronto Varsity Blues) since the 2001-2002 season. To put it in perspective, Dave Smart was just in his third-year and current interim coach Rob Smart was running the back-court show as the lead point guard.
The Rams followed up their dominate showing the previous night by taking full advantage of a short-handed Gee-Gees squad who was without the services of Caleb Agada (ankle injury) by snapping an a eight-game losing skid to the Gee-Gees – a team who has also historically dominated the Rams with a combined record of 26-8 that goes as far back as November 2003.
Toronto Junior Guard Ammanuel Diressa (Tennessee Tech/Eastern Commerce) put on a show in what has surely become one of the more hostile environments in the country. The former Eastern Commerce standout and NCAA DI to CIS transfer was unconscious putting up game-highs off the bench, 21 points in 22 minutes against Carleton and 29 points versus the Gee-Gees.
Both victories are early signs that CIS basketball supremacy is slowly re-structuring itself and shifting west, down highway 401 from Ottawa to Toronto.
A traditionally bottom of the standings OUA team during the late 90’s and early 2000’s Ryerson’s athletic department decided it was time to change the overall image of it’s sport programs embarking on an ambitious plan which included the hiring Roy Rana on August 14, 2009. Rana led arguably the most successful Toronto high school basketball program, the Eastern Commerce Saints to four straight provincial titles.
Beyond the scoreboard, it’s impossible not to recognize Ryerson’s overall commitment to becoming a national powerhouse in the mecca of Canadian basketball. The re-opening and re-transformation of the old Maple Leafs Garden to the Mattamy Athletic Centre into a state-of-the-art, 21st century sports and entertainment facility not only gave current and prospective student athletes home court advantage, it gave Rana & Co. a recruiting surplus around the country.
With Toronto producing and sending the most NCAA basketball talent in the country including a key decision by the CIS board to allow Canadian NCAA basketball transfers to return back home without being forced to sit-out a year and it’s easy to start seeing how Rana’s plan to bring a CIS parade down Carlton and Yonge street is not as far fetched as we may believe.
Fitly it took a veteran roster with a mixture of players like Diressa and Aaron Best, two former Eastern Commerce Saints, the first a NCAA transfer and the latter, part of the first recruiting class opting to play for Rana, rather than go down south. Both players as well as key additions like 6-9 forward Kadeem Green (Missouri Tigers/Ohio University) and Adika Peter-McNeilly have helped Ryerson finished what guys like Jahmal Jones, Jordon Gauthier and others started, finally ending Ottawa’s dominance atop of the CIS national rankings.
With the first-ever number one national ranking now firmly in place the Rams are in prime position return to the CIS Final 8 where once again, they will look capture their first-ever National Championship after earning a bronze medal and a third-place finish just a year-ago as successfully hosts.
Carleton Ravens set records in 129-44, 85-point beat-down of York Lions
The No. 1 ranked Carleton Ravens improved to 16-2 overall and 8-0 in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference action with a 129-44 — 85 point beat-down of the York Lions to set a modern-day U Sports men’s basketball record, for most points scored and the largest margin of victory in a OUA conference game.
The Ravens’ 129 points is the most points scored in a (OUA) game and the third highest scoring output in historic programs’ 58-year history. Carleton routed the Fleming Knights (CCAA/OCAA) 130-78 in non-conference win on October 3, 2009. The 85-point win is the second largest margin of victory in team’s history — including CIAU, CIS, OUA conference, non-conference and games against NCAA teams.
According to historic records, and stats guru Martin Timmerman, the Ravens’ also hold the bragging rights for the most points scored and largest margin of victory in Canadian university basketball history. The all-time mark dates back to the 1964-1965 season with the Ravens’ beating the Ottawa Gee-Gees 144-52 — a whooping 92 point victory in the old Ottawa-St. Lawrence Intercollegiate Association (IAA) conference which was part of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (CIAU).
The OUA was formed on July 1st of 1997 in a amalgamation of the both the Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) and the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA).
The previous largest OUA margin of victory stood firmly at 81, 77 points respectively, dating back to two occasions involving the same two teams. January 15, 2011 — the Ravens pounded the now defunct Royal Military College (RMC) men’s basketball program with a 121-40 win in Kingston, Ontario. Two weeks later, on January 28, in Ottawa, the Ravens’ won by a easy 77 points, in a 101-24 cake walk victory.
The York Lions (7-15, 1-10 OUA) never had a chance — trailing 32-7 after the first 10 minutes and down 64-21 at half-time. The Lions allowed the Ravens’ to outscored them 35-15 in the third-quarter and were limited to just 9 points in the final 10 minutes — while giving-up an another 35-point-quarter.
Stanley Mayambo 17 points, 4 rebounds paced seven Ravens’ players in double-figures. Lloyd Pandi added 14 points, 2 rebounds. Aiden Warnholtz played a game-high 28 minutes off the bench and contributed with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. All of Carleton’s players scored at least five points and attempted at least five shots with only one bench player logging less then 10 minutes of playing time. None of the Carleton’s starting five logged more than 19 minutes of action.
Carleton knocked down 45-of-77 (58.4%) field-goals, made 15-of-32 (46.5%) three-pointers and connected on a healthy 24-30 (80%) from free-throws — while limiting the Lions to just 14-of-62 (22.6%), 4-of-20% (20%) from downtown and 12-of-23 (52%) free-throws.
Carleton, currently on a four-game home stretch will take on the Nipissing Lakers before closing out the first semester with a highly anticipated showdown against nationally ranked and cross-town rival Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Kadre Gray career-high 51 points keep Laurentian Voyageurs unbeaten
Kadre Gray scored a career-high 51 points as the Laurentian Voyageurs (4-0) stayed unbeaten with 107-77 win over the Algoma Thunderbirds. The reigning two-time U Sports Most Valuable Player (MVP) torched Algoma — shooting 17-for-24 (70.8%) from the floor and burying 9-of-15 (60%) triples including 8-of-12 (66%) from the foul line — adding 9 assists and 2 steals in 32 minutes.
Gray scored 14 points in the opening quarter and added 11 more in the second-quarter to finish the half with 25 points as Laurentian trailed the Thunderbirds 51-46. The former Rookie of the Year (2016-17) added to his count with 10 more in the middle frame helping Laurentian rally to take a 74-69 lead.
The Toronto, Ontario native doubled-up the Thunderbirds in the fourth quarter — scoring 16 points in 10 minutes as Laurentian outscored Algoma 33-8 to run away with the game.
Gray has been on a tear to start the 2019-2020 U Sports men’s basketball season pouring 40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists in a win over the Bishop Gaiters just four days ago. The two-time first-team All-Canadian also racked-up 25 points against the Western Mustangs and 19 points in the preseason opener over the Waterloo Warriors.
Gray is currently averaging 33.7 points per game, slightly higher than the league-leading 31 points per game a year ago. Gray’s previous career-high was a 48-point game in 101-81 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves on November 3rd 2018.
Kadre Gray on pace to become U Sports All-Time Scorer
With two years of eligibility remaining and currently sitting at 1549 career points the Laurentian guard is on pace to surpass UNB Reds standout Javon Masters to become the all-time greatest scorer in U Sports basketball men’s history.
Masters had 1608 entering his junior year and scored 799 in his final two campaigns to finish with 2407 career points — surpassing Ryerson’s Boris Bakovic’s 2319 total points. Kadre Gray scored 620 points in 20 regular season games last year alone and should he come anywhere near that pace this year and opt to return for a final fifth-year he could shatter the mark.
The four-year stand-out guard is coming off a stellar season and opted to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft and will once again look to make his mark on Canadian University basketball.
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