Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Experience, length could play major factor in nationals opener

By Luke Bellus

HALIFAX, N.S. - The Ryerson Rams U SPORTS championship dream officially gets underway Friday afternoon in Halifax when they take on the Concordia Stingers.

The Rams enter the weekend as the No. 3 ranked team in the field of eight.

Playing in their fifth consecutive Final 8 tournament, Ryerson will look to keep their winning ways going at this event.

Although the Rams have yet claim the U SPORTS gold that they so desperately desire, they have finished as the second best team in the country in the previous two seasons and have medaled in the last four.

The Rams come into this weekend after losing in the Wilson Cup to their OUA rival Carleton Ravens. The Rams struggled to score as they played for an OUA title and fell by double digits to the Ravens. The Carleton win kept them atop of the U SPORTS rankings and they enter this weekend as the No. 1 seed.

That was then and this is now.

Ryerson will look to do in their opening game of the tournament that they have done in every other year. Win.

And the Rams will look to do that when they play the Stingers who enter as winners of the RSEQ conference.  

Concordia had two conference major award winners this year with fifth-year guard Ricardo Monge taking home MVP and head coach Rastko Popovic winning RSEQ Coach of the Year.

Monge led the RSEQ in steals (2.3) and assists (5.5) and his 15.5 points per game were fourth best.

In the U SPORTS media guide he described his team as “not that big of a team” and that “our team shoots a lot of threes. We like to slow down the pace.” Although that has worked for the Stingers this year so far, that style of play could play right into the Rams’ hands.

One thing this Ryerson team has done all season is use their size, speed, length and depth for success on the defensive end.

By the numbers Concordia’s offence operates through their two guards, Monge (6-0) and Adrian Armstrong (5-11). Ryerson’s starting point guard Myles Charvis (6-0) will be up for the challenge of taking on another league’s MVP in what will be a battle between two fifth year seniors.

Other guards like JV Mukama (6-8) and Jayden Fredrick (6-5) will cause major matchup nightmares for the guards on the Stingers roster.

Tanor Ngom (7-2) will be the tallest player by far on the court; Concordia’s tallest player is 6-7 meaning Ngom should be a major factor on the boards on both offence and defence.  

No team on a weekend like this is to be taken lightly and Ryerson has had close calls in a few of their opening games at the national tournament. But if both teams play up to their ability expect the Rams to give the Stingers a very challenging game on both sides of the court.

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