Bears advance to semis for first time since 2003

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alberta GBears

HALIFAX (ISN) – The second-seeded University of Alberta Golden Bears advanced to the national semifinals for the first time since 2003 at the CIS men’s basketball championship thanks to a convincing 81-52 win over the No. 7 Ryerson Rams, Friday evening, in the third quarter-final of the 2012 Final 8, presented by Subway.

Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index 

Making their first appearance at the tournament since a seventh-place finish in 2008, the Canada West champions will face either No. 3 Concordia or No. 6 St. Francis Xavier in Saturday’s late semifinal at 8:15 p.m. Atlantic, live on EastLink TV and ssncanada.ca.

The OUA finalist Rams, in their second trip in program history at the Nationals, move to the consolation side of the draw and will take on the loser of the Concordia-StFX match-up Saturday at 2:15 p.m. AT. Ryerson went 0-2 at its only previous tourney appearance in 1999.

The Bears, looking to capture a fourth W.P. McGee Trophy and their first one since 2002, jumped in front 6-3 in the second minute of the contest and never relinquished the lead after that point. Alberta led 21-12 after the opening quarter, 49-25 at halftime and 66-43 at the 30-minute mark.

Jordan Baker and Daniel Ferguson, the top two scorers at this weekend’s tournament with averages of 19.1 and 19.6 points per game, respectively, this season, live up to their reputation in the lopsided victory.

Baker, a first-team all-Canadian guard from Edmonton, had an outstanding overall performance with a game-high 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Ferguson, a fifth-year guard from Malton, Ont., was named Alberta player of the game following a 23-point performance, including 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range.

The dynamic duo totally dominated the first half, scoring 41 of the Bears’ 49 points. Ferguson had 21 points at the break, while Baker had 20.

Todd Bergen Henengou, with 15 points, also scored in double figures for the winners

“Our captains, Baker and Ferguson really stepped up for us tonight. They set the tone early and were an inspiration for their teammates,” said Alberta head coach Greg Francis. “They came out very aggressive. That was part of our game plan.”

“It was just one of those nights where everything seems to go in. I felt good out there,” commented Ferguson. “My teammates gave me a lot of open looks. It was an all-around great team effort.”

Jahmal Jones, a sophomore point guard from Mississauga, Ont., was Ryerson’s game MVP with 15 points and four assists. Fellow sophomore Bjorn Michaelsen of Otterburn Park, Que., contributed 11 points in the losing cause.

“They are older, more mature physically, and that was a big difference tonight,” said Ryerson head coach Roy Rana. “Hats off to them. They played very well.”

Baker dominated the opening frame, scoring the Bears’ first eight points en route to a 12-point quarter.

The 6-foot-7 forward also scored his team’s first four points in the second period, before Ferguson took over with 18 points before the halftime break, including 12 from beyond the arc.

It looked as though the Rams would make it interesting early in the third as they opened the second half with an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 49-36, but the Bears responded with an 8-2 of their own, all but sealing the victory.

Bergen Henengou tallied seven points in the final quarter as Alberta maintained its comfortable lead.

The Bears dominated every statistical category. They out-rebounded their OUA rivals 50-48, shot 48.4 per cent from the field compared to 34.5 for the Rams, and were successful on 44.4 per cent of their long distance attempts, compared to 30.8 for Ryerson.

STAT LEADERS

Boxscore: Alberta-Ryerson

Alberta

Points: Jordan Baker (26), Daniel Ferguson (23), Todd Bergen Henengou (15)

Rebounds: Todd Bergen Henengou (9), Jordan Baker (8)

Assists: Jordan Baker (8)

Subway player of the game: Daniel Ferguson

Ryerson

Points: Jahmal Jones (15), Bjorn Michaelsen (11)

Rebounds: Bjorn Michaelsen (6), Luke Staniscia (4)

Assists: Jahmal Jones (4)

Subway player of the game: Jahmal Jones

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