Instant Classic: Rams lay claim to top ranking in memorable win over Gee-Gees

6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa capped an All-Canadian-esque weekend with 29 points including the game-winning bucket on a floater in the final minute as Ryerson scored the last 7 points of the game in an 87-80 win over #1 uOttawa Gee-Gees in one of the more exciting and memorable games in the CIS in recent history.  Diressa, a graduate of Toronto’s Eastern Commerce and a transfer from NCAA Division 1 Tennessee Tech, was outstanding all evening, knocking down long 3’s and scorching defenders off the dribble for creative takes to the rim, scoring 21 of his game-high 29 after halftime.

Diressa dominated the final minutes for Ryerson with an “and 1″ take off a smooth fake, a long bomb 3 from the left wing and then the go-ahead bucket on a tear-drop one hand runner, one night after scoring 21 points on 5-7 shooting from downtown vs. defending national champions Carleton Ravens.  Diressa was a ridiculous 9 for 15 from three point land over the two weekend games.

The final 3-4 minutes were classic high-end CIS basketball as the Gee-Gees hung tough on the spunky play of 6’1” Mike L’Africain, who got himself in the lane to create defensive rotations that ended up with pretty ball-sharing and touch passes that resulted in open 3’s for 6’4″ Brandon Robinson, 6’3″ Medhi Tihani and two clutch 3’s from 6’7″ Vikas Gill.  But Diressa and 6’8″ Kadeem Green were equal to the task, with Green’s rim-protecting block on 6’6″ Brody Maracle a momentum changer, followed up by a smooth face-up and finger roll by Green.  The final minutes had numerous ties and lead changes and virtually all top-end offensive possessions.

6’7″ J.V. Mukama, while not enjoying his best offensive evening, made the key defensive play when, with just 30 seconds remaining and Rams protecting a three point lead, the long, slender wing poked the ball away from L’Africain, creating a turnover and transition opportunity that ended in Diressa getting fouled.  The Gee-Gees did not score again.

Ottawa hung around despite a questionable 4th foul against Gee-Gees quarterback L’Africain with over 7 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter that resulted in a technical foul against Gee-Gees Head Coach James Derouin.  But Tihani (14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), Gill (12 points) and reserve 5’11” freshman guard Calvin Epistola (Toronto Oakwood) kept the game within reach before Derouin re-inserted L’Africain (14 points, 4 assists) with about 8 minutes remaining in the fourth.

Gee-Gees got strong minutes from Robinson, reliable 6’6″ wing Matt Plunkett and 6’6″ Mackenzie Morrison in the absence of injured star 6’3″ Caleb Agada and received tremendous production from their pair of posts as 6’8″ Nathan McCarthy and 6’6″ Brody Maracle combined to score 21 points and nab 12 rebounds.

Rams were kept in the game early on the dominating-at-times play of 6’5″ Aaron Best as the fifth-year lefty had 16 points – 11 in the first half – and 11 rebounds.

Expect a large shake-up in the National Top 10 rankings – this site will release our opinion likely prior to the end of the weekend.



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