Toronto – They know each other well, having met on just about every big stage possible across the university sport landscape, and for the first time this season, the Carleton Ravens and Ryerson Rams will do battle with unblemished records on the line. These powerhouse squads will both have the chance to make statement wins to start 2019 and they’ll do so as part of this week’s Marquee Matchup, powered by Planters Canada.
Any fans of university basketball are more than familiar with the Carleton and Ryerson programs, as both have a knack for topping the standings when all is said and done. Winners of the last four Wilson Cup championships, the Ravens and Rams have gone head-to-head in the past three, with Ryerson getting the better of the 13-time national champions in 2016 and 2017, before the Ravens grabbed their revenge in the most recent edition. These meetings have even extended to the national stage, with their most recent encounter favouring the Rams, who defeated Carleton 84-76 to advance and eventually finish as U SPORTS runners up.
These storied programs are well on their way to adding further chapters of success this season, as both have played their way to identical 10-0 records thus far. And it is no surprise to see these lofty standards being upheld once again, as the two schools are among the league leaders in several statistical categories.
Carleton ranks first in points per game, with their lethal offensive attack pouring in 91.6 points per game on a top-ranked 51.0 FG%. They rank in the top-five in both three-point shooting and free throw percentage, while topping the conference in assists (18.8 APG). This ability to get the job done at a high level continues onto the defensive side of the ball, as they are also the top-ranked squad therein, surrendering just 54.6 points per game. They allow opponents a miniscule 33.3 FG% and 25.4 3PT%, while also hitting the glass at a second-ranked clip (41.0 RPG).
The Rams, meanwhile, are right alongside their marquee matchup counterparts in several of these critical categories. Ryerson ranks second in scoring (90.6 PPG) and second in team defence (55.8 PPG). They shoot over 50% from the field and nearly 35.9% from beyond the arc; both good for second in the OUA. They are the top rebounding squad with 45.1 per game; they are the best at protecting the paint with 6.6 blocks per game; and they limit their opponents to a conference-best 28.9% from the field and a second-ranked 26.8% from deep.
The stats tell quite a tale, but it will be the players on the court that pen the ultimate story, guided by two of the best in the business on the sidelines – Roy Rana and Dave Smart. For Rana and the Rams, they are led by senior guard JV Mukama (Hamilton, Ont.), who checks in with 19.9 PPG on the year. He is joined by four additional double-digit scorers, including fellow senior Myles Charvis (Mississauga, Ont.), who also leads the team in assists (5.2 APG), and Tanor Ngom (Dakar, Senegal), who is one of the team’s top rebounders (6.1 RPG) behind Mukama (7.9 RPG). Jayden Frederick (Scarborough, Ont.) – 11.2 PPG – and Filip Vujadinovic (Burlington, Ont.) – 10.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG – round out the team’s top scoring threats, but a deep roster makes them a tough matchup for anyone.
Depth is something that Carleton is no stranger to either, as Smart uses a number of players to execute key roles for his Ravens. 11 players are averaging more than 11 minutes of playing time per game, while none of them top the 25-minute mark. Not only are players getting on the court, however, they are also spreading the wealth with their contributions. Four players are averaging more than 12 PPG, led by TJ Lall (Cambridge, Ont.) and his 14.9 points per contest, but 11 are chipping in with at least five points on average.
Joining Lall as the team’s top scorers are Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, Ont.), who is also the black birds’ leading rebounder with 5.9 RPG; Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, Ont.) with 12.5 per game; and Munis Tutu (Windsor, Ont.), who rounds out the double-digit point-producers with 12.1 per game to go along with a team-leading 4.6 assists per outing.
With talent-laden rosters such as these, it is clear that both undefeated squads will not only have their sights set on a victory this weekend, but a victory come season’s end as the last team standing. They have the experience, the depth, and the overall pedigree to stand among the country’s elite, but to get to where they want to be, the Carleton Ravens and Ryerson Rams will first have to continue their playoff push in a head-to-head marquee matchup.
Fans can see this colossal clash live on Saturday, January 5 at 2:00pm at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. For those who want to watch online, the game can also be seen on oua.tv and via the corresponding apps, available for download on Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku.