By Peter Ash
With a win against Alberta on Thursday, the Ryerson Rams’ men’s basketball team are one step closer to grabbing a national championship.
But, in order for them to get to the finals, they’ll have to take on a team that’s been a thorn in their backside for a long period of time: The Carleton Ravens.
When asked about the Ravens’ dominance and capabilities, Rams guard/forward Jean-Victor Mukama said that his team will have to be calm and cool.
“I think with them, we have to be disciplined,” Mukama said. “That’s the number one thing. We know they’re a great team defensively and we know they play hard, so I think we have to play well and not play their game.”
Carleton’s “game” is to play physical, which normally leads to a lot of opportunities for them on both sides of the ball. In their latest matchup against the Ravens, the Rams allowed Carleton to dominate them on the glass, giving up 13 offensive rebounds.
“In the OUA Championship, they had a lot of second chances and [against] a good team like that you don’t want to give those types of chances,” Mukama added.
Ryerson has lost their last three matchups against the Ravens, dating back to last year’s national championship final. Rams guard Ammanuel Diressa believes that his team will have to play at a sharper and higher level in order to get the job done this time around.
“I think we beat ourselves [in] most of those games,” Diressa said. “Not to say that [Carleton] didn’t play well, because they did. I just feel like we didn’t give ourselves a chance because we didn’t play hard enough and we didn’t have the concentration to execute.”
The Rams shot the ball at an incredible level in Thursday’s matchup against the Golden Bears, but according to Mukama, this isn’t something that should be expected every game.
“We can’t expect ourselves to shoot like that all the time,” Mukama said. ”So, it’s going to come down to the 50-50 balls and rebounding.”
If the Rams want to take down the country’s powerhouse and move on to their second national championship final in as many years, they’ll have to play their best basketball of the season.
It’ll also come down to how hard they play, something that Mukama believes is vital for victory.
“Every year they play us hard. I’ve never played a Carleton team that didn’t play hard, so I think the biggest thing is that we have to play hard. No matter how hard we execute, we have to really key in defensively and make sure that they don’t get any open looks.”