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Non-Ryerson Students/Seniors (65+): $10.00
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Ammanuel “Manny” Diressa (Toronto, Ont.) made his long awaited return to the Ryerson Rams lineup Friday night as the Rams toppled the Waterloo Warriors 88-83 in overtime at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Warriors entered the game on a hot streak, winning the last two after starting the season 0-5. While they nearly added the Rams to that tally, some last minute overtime heroics kept Ryerson adding to the wins column as they improve to 5-2 on the season.
Throughout the game, there was a slow but certain power shift as an early Rams lead quickly began to turn in the Warriors’ favour. The early, tone-setting back-to-back dunks of Tanor Ngom (Dakar, Senegal) soon turned to clutch three-pointers by Waterloo guard Justin Hardy (Waterloo, Ont.).
Key to Waterloo’s fight was the team’s leading scorer, forward Nedim Hodzic (Waterloo, Ont.), who put up a game high 21 points complimented by 13 defensive rebounds. Ryerson’s answer was JV Mukama (Hamilton, Ont.) who continued his strong season with a team-high 17 points and a key block to keep the game overtime bound.
After falling behind early in overtime, the Rams clawed back with Myles Charvis (Mississauga, Ont.) sinking a three to put the Rams back in the lead. Ultimately, it was Mukama who sealed the deal by turning a defensive rebound into a three to put the game away.
The Rams were without head coach Roy Rana, currently coaching the Canadian national team in Halifax, leaving assistant coach Borko Popic at the helm of the team. While one leading figure was missing, Diressa’s first game since a November 3rd injury in Windsor would mark a key piece of Ryerson’s puzzle on the court.
Putting up eight points in his return to the lineup, Popic believes that Manny’s presence alone was a factor in the win.
The Rams, now on their own two-game winning streak, will look to make it three against the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The event marks this year’s Pride Night as a student-run initiative. After tonight’s close call, the Rams look to come back to the court ready to play.
“We have some things to clean up from this game,” Popic said, “so we’ll watch the film and take care of all those loose ends and be ready to play tomorrow night.”