HALIFAX (CIS) – The seventh-seeded Ryerson Rams claimed the first Final 8 win in program history when they defeated the No. 3 Concordia Stingers 84-80 in the second consolation semifinal of the 50th CIS men’s basketball championship, presented by Subway, Saturday afternoon at the Metro Centre.
Championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index
The OUA finalist Rams, who lost 81-52 to Alberta in Friday’s quarter-finals, will face No. 8 Acadia Sunday at 11 a.m. Atlantic in the consolation final for fifth place. Ryerson had gone 0-2 in its only previous CIS tournament appearance back in 1999.
Concordia finishes tied for seventh for the second straight year at the Final 8. The RSEQ champions lost 98-82 to StFX in Friday’s opening round.
Bjorn Michaelsen, a 6-foot-7 forward from Otterburn Park, Que., was named player of the game for the winners after scoring a match-high 25 points. He also had five rebounds and four assists in the victory.
Freshman Aaron Best of Scarborough, Ont., with 17 points, Luke Staniscia of Pefferlaw, Ont., with 15, and Jahmal Jones of Mississauga, Ont., with 14, also scored in double figures for the Rams.
Playing in his final university game, senior forward James Clark of Toronto was voted Concordia MVP following a 22-point, nine-rebound effort. Evens Laroche, the reigning RSEQ player of the year from Montreal, had 17 points in the losing cause, while fellow Montreal native Kyle Desmarais finished with 14.
“These games are never easy to play but the guys showed a lot of pride today,” said Ryerson head coach Roy Rana. “They want to end the season with a win.”
Concordia opened the game with a 17-4 run and held on to the lead until Jones tied the affair at 33 all with just over three minutes to go in the first half. The Stingers quickly jumped back in front and took a 41-37 lead into the locker room at the break.
The RSEQ champs got off to another great start in the third quarter and built what looked like a comfortable 61-45 cushion midway through the period. Ryerson stunned the third-seeded Stingers however with 18 straight points and headed into the fourth quarter leading 63-61.
After three quick lead changes early in the final frame, Ryerson went ahead for good with five minutes remaining on a Staniscia layup. Clark brought Concordia back to within two – at 82-80 – with 1:40 left but the Rams held on for the win.