U SPORTS Communications
HALIFAX – The Ryerson Rams are headed to the semifinals thanks to some stellar three-point shooting.
The fifth-seeded Rams drilled 20 triples against the Alberta Golden Bears and controlled the game from start to finish en route to an 88-62 victory.
Manny Diressa put up a game-high 25 points and seven assists, while teammates Jean-Victor Mukama (21), Myles Charvis (14) and Filip Vujadinovic (12) each finished in double figures.
"We've had some good nights where we shot it well and nights where we haven't," said Ryerson head coach Roy Rana. "But when a team shoots it like this in this type of building, it says a lot about our confidence."
The fourth-seeded Golden Bears were understandably disappointed with their effort, especially considering their defence was ranked third in the country.
"It's a tough way to go out with two disappointing losses to end the year. I thought it was a real special year and I thought we had great chemistry," said Alberta head coach Barnaby Craddock, whose team lost the Canada West championship to the Calgary Dinos heading into the tournament. "There's no hiding behind it, we're disappointed with our own performance and that's what we have to deal with and move on from."
The three-point barrage began from the opening tipoff, as Ryerson took a quick 17-14 advantage five minutes in. The Rams continued to light it up from beyond the arc, where they went of 9-of-12 in the opening frame. To put that in perspective, the Rams averaged 9.3 made threes during the entire regular season.
The big man in the middle, Mukama, drilled three of them for nine points in the quarter. Teammates Diressa and Charvis also got in on the action with six points apiece to open up a 31-21 lead after the first.
The Golden Bears also had a strong offensive quarter, shooting 61.5 per cent from the field. The lone difference was Alberta made just two long-range bombs as opposed to Ryerson's nine. Mamadou Gueye led the way for Alberta with seven of his team-high 12 points.
"They were red hot and they played well," Craddock said. "They did a good job on us defensively and that's where we lost momentum and it snowballed on us."
After the first quarter, the Rams' defence was smothering and held the Golden Bears to just 34.7 per cent from the field.
"When those (shots) aren't going down, it's going to come down to our defence and I thought our defence was incredible tonight," said Rana.
Alberta held their opponent down for a brief period in the second quarter and trimmed the deficit to 40-32. But the high-powered Rams rediscovered their shooting stroke and took hold 46-34 at the break. Mukama continued to lead the way with 15 in the half.
Diressa, the Rams top scorer during the regular season, took over in the third quarter with 12 points and broke the game wide open, as Ryerson carried a 72-49 advantage into the fourth.
With the game in hand, Ryerson cleared their bench to give the starters some well-earned rest, as they took care of business 88-62.
The Rams will take on the winner of the Carleton Ravens vs. Acadia Axemen match in Saturday's semifinal at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT, while Alberta faces the losing team in the consolation semifinal at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Players of the Game
Ryerson: Manny Diressa
Alberta: Brody Clarke