The uOttawa men’s basketball program will kick off a five game home stand this weekend as they welcome Toronto’s finest to Monpetit Hall. Most importantly the no. 2 ranked Gee-Gees will take on the no. 4 Ryerson Rams on Saturday in what has been the most anticipated game to take place at Monpetit Hall this season.
“These two home games are huge for us. Since we have home court advantage it's important that we capitalize on that. If we’re able to go get these wins it could put us in a good position heading forward,” said head coach James Derouin. “You have to be aware of the fact that you are playing one of, if not the best defensive teams in the country. [The Rams] are so athletic and fierce defensively so we have to be aware of that in order to do what we have to do.”
The Toronto Varsity Blues will be the first order of business for the Gee-Gees as they are set to tip-off on Friday night. Despite Toronto’s woeful 2-10 record the Varsity Blues always manage to put up a fight against the Gee-Gees as quite a rivalry has been present between the teams for years.
Toronto also possesses one of the most prolific scorers in the CIS in Alex Hill who is currently ranked second in the CIS in scoring with 26.1 points per game. Hill recently made history as he became the Varsity Blues all time point’s leader, passing the old mark of 1, 269 points set by Dave West. He completed the feat in the final minutes of a game against their cross-town opponent, Ryerson Rams.
When Ottawa travelled to Ryerson last season they were defeated by the Rams in Toronto but were able to return the favour and take a victory in Ottawa in the second game, as well as in the playoffs. The important detail here is that Ottawa’s home playoff win eliminated Ryerson from the Final Four Championship which so happened to be played in the former Maple Leaf Gardens, the Rams’ home court. With that said, the Rams will be hungry for revenge this Saturday when the teams meet for the first time since.
The Rams have had an excellent season thus and are currently neck and neck with uOttawa in the OUA East standings. Ryerson has held their opponents to 66.4 points per game which is good for sixth best in the country. Ryerson’s leading scorer Jahmal Jones has been on a tear averaging 20.1 points per game and is ranked sixth in the CIS.
“Ryerson is, without a doubt, a good team but we always try to take it one game at a time and just follow our game plan. It’s obvious that the challenge is a bit more intense because we could possibly play against this team in a playoff situation but our goal is always to beat our rivals,” said Gee-Gees Desjardins Male Athlete of the Week, Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue. “For me personally the important thing is that the team comes out with the victory. I try to go into the game and attack their weaknesses while playing good defence. That is the mindset I am going into this game with.”
The weekend marks the first of two in which the Gee-Gees will face the Varsity Blues and the Rams this season as they will travel to Toronto at the end of the month for the same challenge.
For those unable to attend the game in person both contests will be available via online broadcast at SSN Canada.