VANCOUVER (CIS) – In a clash of conference champions, the OUA's Ryerson Rams claimed the national bronze medal for the second straight year, claiming third place in the 2016 Arcelormittal Dofasco CIS Men's Basketball Final 8 with an 85-78 win over the AUS standout Dalhousie Tigers.
The Rams escaped a furious fourth-quarter comeback from the Tigers, as four late free throws, a pair each from guards FilipVujadinovic and JuwonGrannum, were enough to ice the seven-point win.
"It's great, great experience for us," said Ryerson head coach Patrick Tatham of his team's showing at the national tournament. "I think any team that's going to get gold is going to come short a little bit, but I think it's all improvement in the end. Great steps for the last two years, and I think next year will be just as good."
The Ryerson got scoring from all over the floor, as four Rams hit double digits. Aside from scoring leader Jean-Victor Mukama's 15 points, Ryerson also got 14 from Aaron Best in the Second Team All-Canadian's most productive game of the tournament, 13 from Adika Peter-McNeilly, and 12 from guard FilipVujadinovic.
Kashrell Lawrence was a bright spot for the Tigers, as the guard went off for 19 points and eight rebounds to lead the contest in both categories (tied in boards with Ryerson's Adam Voll). Jordan Aquino-Serjue also had a nice outing, coming away with 13 points and six assists, as well as Dalhousie's Player of the Game nod.
For Dalhousie head coach Rick Plato, whose Tigers will serve as the 2017 CIS Final 8 hosts in Halifax, N.S., the experience gained from the high level of competition, especially playing Ryerson, Carleton, and Ottawa, has been invaluable.
"For us, anyway, we had the opportunity to play the top three teams in the country – they were one, two, and three. We played 'em all tough, I think it's great for us moving forward, I think we've shown well. We improved this year, and we will be back next year."
Ryerson, who shot a miserable 6-for-39 from three-point land the night before against the Calgary Dinos, started the game cold from both outside and inside. It was midway through the quarter they started to find their stroke, as a9-0 runin the back half of the frame was keyed by some slashes to the bucket by Best and a corner three from Mukama.
Dalhousie starters came out early in the quarter, as head coach Rick Plato started to utilize his bench. The reserves' inexperience showed as they were unable to generate much in terms of offence. Ryerson led 20-11 after the first frame.
The second quarter opened with a pull up jumper by Peter-McNeilly. One of Dalhousie's only sparks of offense, Lawrence started to make things happen down low, whileBestcontinued to facilitate Ryerson's offence with some creative playmaking. By the time a timeout was called with just under four minutes left, Ryerson held a commanding double-digit lead, up 37-24.
Trying to chip away at the Ryerson advantage, the Tigers just couldn't gather any momentum. A Lawrence dunk had the potential to serve as a catalyst for a late Dalhousie run, but any momentum it generated was quelled by a nice spin move and finish by Ryerson's Roshane Roberts with under a minute remaining in the opening half, as the Rams led 45-30 at the break.
After a quick 5-0 Dalhousie run to open the second half, the Rams returned to dictating the pace of play, and the Tigers had no answer. An 8-2 Ryerson run, kicked off with another Mukama triple, restored the Rams' double-digit advantage, and by the end of the frame, a corner three from Best had stretched that lead to 14, at 63-49.
Three minutes into the fourth, Dalhousie started to narrow the gap. Aquino-Serjuestarted the run with triple, followed by a pair ofLawrence free throws.
Lawrence with a spinning hook shot in the post, but again Ryerson came down the floor and answered with a bucket by Voll.
Five consecutive points from Ritchie Kanza Mata helped the Tigers pull within five with just over three minutes remaining in the contest, and by the time only 40 seconds remained, Dalhousie was within three, down 81-78 after a Jarred Reid three.
RYE 20-25-18-22: 85
DAL 11-19-19-29: 78
Points: Jean-Victor Mukama (15), Aaron Best (14), Adika Peter-McNeilly (13)
Rebounds: Adika Peter-McNeilly (8), Adam Voll (8)
Assists: Adika Peter-McNeilly (3),
Player of the game: Aaron Best
Points: Kashrell Lawrence (19) Jordan Aquino-Serjue (13), Sven Stammberger (13)
Rebounds: Kashrell Lawrence (8), Sven Stammberger (7)
Assists: Jordan Aquino-Serjue (6)
Player of the game: Jordan Aquino-Serjue
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PACIFIC)
Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 2 Carleton 91, No. 7 Thompson Rivers 75
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Dalhousie 87, No. 3 Ottawa 83
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 4 Calgary 72, No. 5 McGill 69
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Ryerson 109, No. 8 UBC 101 (OT)
Friday, March 18
17:00 Consolation 1: Ottawa 78, Thompson Rivers 77
19:00 Consolation 2: UBC 69, McGill 68
Saturday, March 19
12:00 5th-place game: UBC 93, Ottawa 76
15:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton 76, Dalhousie 66
17:30 Semifinal 2: Calgary 98, Ryerson 87
Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze: Ryerson 85, Dalhousie 78
17:30 Final: Carleton vs. Calgary (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *