HALIFAX (CUP)—After a blowout loss in their first game to StFX, the Concordia Stingers quickly found themselves in a spot they had hoped to avoid: the consolation bracket. Even there the Stingers couldn’t find success.
A day after getting blown out by an impressive Alberta squad, the Ryerson Rams showed grit and determination over the Stingers in the consolation semifinals, pulling out an 84–80 victory Saturday afternoon at the Halifax Metro Centre. The Rams claimed their program’s first-ever win at the CIS championships.
The Stingers, the RSEQ champions, were eliminated from the tournament with a winless 0 – 2 record. It was a frustrating setback for head coach John Dore.
“We did not play how we were capable of playing in either game that we played here,” said Dore. “It’s a disappointing end to the season, and, you know, we’ve got our work cut out for us if we want to play at this level.”
Although their hopes for a national title have passed them by, Rams head coach Roy Rana said getting a consolation victory still matters to his group.
“Maybe for others it wasn’t that important of a game, but for us it was. I thought we kept fighting. We didn’t get off to a great start tonight, but I’m proud of the kids. They came up big,” he said.
The Rams would not have gotten here if not for an earlier upset of the defending OUA champion Lakehead Thunderwolves in the semifinals.
A Ryerson victory over Concordia did not seem possible until an 18–0 run to end the third quarter put a charge in the Rams. With the score 61–45 for Concordia midway through the third quarter, Ryerson turned up the defensive pressure and got hot on the offensive end. A combination of three point plays and easy fast break baskets paced the run eventually leading to victory.
The theme of runs carried throughout the game. From the start, Concordia came out firing, opening up a 17–4 lead early on. The Rams, led by OUA first team all-star Jahmal Jones, did not panic and played their game, pulling back to within six by the end of the first quarter. This run, along with the electric 18–0 stretch later in the contest, made the difference in the game.
In the end, the game came down to the wire, but poor clock management by the Stingers doomed them. After Concordia players let precious time tick off the clock before committing a foul, Jones hit two clutch free throws to extend the lead to 84–80, essentially icing the game.