A busy Thursday night in U-Sports/NCAA hoops with five games at various sites, highlighted by last season’s National finalists Ryerson Rams hosting SMU Mustangs. Mustangs come off an overtime win at McGill when Redmen had a good look at the game-tying three just before the extra-frame buzzer. Rams must replace All-Canadian Adika Peter-McNeilly and stalward 6’6″ forward Juwan Grannum and are expected to have slick 6’6″ forward J.V. Mukama back after the impact sharpshooter sat out last season. Key to Rams is 6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa, arguably the top pure scorer in the country entering this season. Tonight also is the expected Ryerson debut of 5’9″ Jordan Henry, who was a key member of Canada’s U-19 World Championship team which captured Gold last month in Egypt. Another possibly under-rated addition to the Rams lineup is 6’5″ Nathan Culbreath, an explosive athlete originally from Kingston, ON who transferred over from York, sitting out last season so expected to be available. Ryerson appears poised for a run at their third consecutive OUA Wilson Cup championship.
Perennial Nationals contender uOttawa Gee-Gees make their 2017 summer debut hosting Alabama as the Tide comes off last night’s potentially-wake-up-call at Carleton in which, other than about 6 minutes in the third quarter, ‘Bama was outplayed in virtually all facets. Gee-Gees have to replace one of the greatest players in program history in 6’3″ Caleb Agada as well as 6’6″ Matt Plunkett and 6’2″ Adam Presutti but have brought in a veteran, quality point guard in 5’11” Sean Stoqua. Coach James Derouin is high on his pair of recruits from Atlantic Canada as 6’4″ Chase Tynes and 6’3″ Alex Muise are scheduled to make their Gee-Gees debuts. The Ottawa camp is also excited about the arrival of 6’5″ Kenny Jean-Louis, who authored numerous triple/doubles while at Cape Breton. Jean-Louis, originally from Montreal, enters grad school at uOttawa and is eligible immediately. Expect another high-end college game at Montpetit Hall tonight.
In other games, Towson (3-0 in Canada) completes their tour with a game in Montreal against McGill Redmen while Binghamton Bearcats play the second game of their tour again in St. Catharines against Laurier Golden Hawks in a neutral site game at Brock’s Bob Davis Gym.
In Calgary, Montana State begins their four-games-in-four-days campaign tonight against host Calgary Dinos; Wayne Thomas has a preview on his site.
Laurentian also plays their second of back-to-backs against Western Kentucky later this afternoon in Costa Rica. Recall on Tuesday, the Voyageurs led for most of the game before giving up a late lead with about 5 minutes remaining to lose 104-98.