By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – TORONTO, Ont. – Everything was going as planned for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team who were on par with hosts Ryerson until the fourth quarter in the bronze-medal match up on Mar. 15 of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS championship. A late surge from Rams senior Jahmal Jones gave Ryerson their first CIS medal, bronze, with an 82-68 win over Victoria. This is Victoria’s second-straight fourth-place finish at the national championship.
The Vikes were fittingly led by fifth year Chris McLaughlin who had 22 points, 14 rebounds and dropped two three pointers. Third year Grant Sitton totaled 13 points and five rebounds, while fourth year Marcus Tibbs had six points and six assists. The Vikes had 28 points come from their bench, most notably a strong third-quarter performance from Junior Sesay who finished with six points and six rebounds.
Ryerson was led by six-foot Jones and who recovered from his two-point third quarter to finish with 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Third year Adika Peter-McNeilly neared a double-double finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Ryerson out-rebounded Victoria 47-40.
Six Victoria three pointers got the Vikes back within one possession entering half time despite trailing by as much as nine points in the second quarter. The Vikes went down 15-7 in the early minutes of the game after OUA First Team All-Star Jones dropped the opening seven points for the home side. Ryerson logged seven points on second-chance opportunities. Treys from each of Sitton and Tibbs kept the Vikes within reason as the Rams led 19-15 at the end of the first.
Aaron Best got the Rams off to a good start dropping a long bomb on their opening possession of the second. The play evened up as Victoria’s Mack Roth dropped one from the top of the arc to get within four, Ryerson leading 24-20. Beaucamp dipped far into his bench with Victoria’s Justin Kinnear, Hassan Abdullahi, Hayden Lejeune and Jeremy Leonard-Smith all made appearances in their final game of the 2014-15 season. Six-foot-three Peter-McNeilly did most of the second-quarter damage for Ryerson nabbing eight points in the quarter.
Following a scramble in transition the Vikes managed to find Sitton who dropped his third three to get the Vikes within two points, down 39-37 entering half time.
The Vikes bench provided some much-needed energy as Victoria were able to come from behind to tie the game five times and take the lead twice. Tibbs fed McLaughlin to open the quarter with a huge shot from beyond the perimeter, while Sesay turned many heads getting six-straight points late in the frame to tie the game at 48 and 50. Both teams were pretty much level in rebounds and turnovers with the Vikes out-scoring Ryerson 18-17 despite solid offensive work from Best and Peter-McNeilly.
Ryerson stand out Jones was held to just two points in the third quarter as the Rams led 56-55 entering the fourth.
CIS Second Team All-Canadian Jones was the heart and soul of the Ryerson engine as the fifth year heated it up for 12 points in the fourth quarter, most of which came in their 15-0 run. Despite too massive dunks from McLaughlin early in the quarter it was all Ryerson, whose fourth-quarter tear sealed them their first-ever CIS medal with an 82-68 victory.
The Vikes finish as ranked, No .4, while graduating team captain McLaughlin was honoured as the game MVP, as was Ryerson’s Jones. This was also the final game for fifth-year transfer from Bishop’s Leonard Smith.
RYE: 19-20-17-26 : 82
UVIC: 15-22-18-13 : 68
RYE: Jahmal Jones (25), Adika Peter-McNeilly (21)
UVIC: Chris McLaughlin (22), Grant Sitton (13)