By Harlan Nemers
HALIFAX- With the game tied and the seconds ticking away, Luke Staniscia had the chance to win it for the Ryerson Rams. In his final game as a Ryerson Ram, Stanisica unleashed a short jumper that popped out. The Rams went on to falter to the Acadia Axemen in overtime
The Rams officially ended their CIS season with a loss to the Axemen 90- 83 on Sunday afternoon at the Halifax Metro Center, grabbing fifth place in the CIS Final 8 tournament.
Ryerson outscored the Axemen for the first three of the game but the Axemen stormed back in the fourth quarter to tie it up, and go on a commanding run in overtime.
“We just had a lot of energy,” said Owen Klassen, who led the Axemen with a team high 21 points and 12 rebounds. “We came out really slow but we got our energy back in the second half. A couple good plays and we got excited.”
Jahmal Jones chipped in with 20 points, Ola Adegboruwa added 11 and Luke Stanscia- playing in his final ever OUA game- snared a game-high 14 board for the Rams.
“The game was a battle,” said Rams rookie Aaron Best, who scored a game-high 30 points. “All the credit to Acadia. They were tough on the glass. That’s tough for our team to deal with.”
Acadia did have a 57- 45 advantage on the boards they also got to the free throw line 13 times more than the Rams.
“I thought we played a great game. It just came down to one thing: making shots. They made shots and we didn’t,” added Rams’ coach Roy Rana. “In the fourth quarter our shots didn’t go down and they took advantage.”
After allowing the first 10 of 13 points, the Rams ended the first quarter on a 21- 11 run guided by Best’s 15 points, taking their first lead 39 seconds before the end of the quarter.
Featuring a balanced attack from Jahmal Jones, Ola Adegboruwa and Best, the Rams took a nine-point lead midway through the second quarter. But Acadia’s Klassen went to work inside scoring six of his teams’ next eight points to cut the deficit to 38- 33 at the end of the first-half.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Rams took one of their biggest leads at 10 after Gavin Berry hit two free throws but Anthony Sears’s duo of layups and three-point ball would help cut the deceit to seven at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Rams would catch a hold of the momentum, in this cat-mouse game, early in the fourth quarter, taking their largest lead to 11 on a Best layup at the 8:32 mark but that’s went things would go south for Ryerson.
The Axemen went on a 9-4 run in the next 3:30 and eventually tie the game at 76 with 53 seconds left on a Thomas Filgiano free throw. They kept the pressure on, trading free throws in the next 45 second, and although they never lead in the fourth quarter, they tied it with seven seconds left. With the game tied at 78 and the game on his shoulders, Rams’ captain Staniscia missed an inside jumper, which would have won it for the Rams. Instead, overtime was forced.
Five different players scored for the Axemen in the extra frame, as Acadia went on a 7-0 run in less than two minutes. Even a three-pointer from Best couldn’t spark a rally for the Rams.
After the game, coach Rana was pleased with how this season of Rams’ basketball concluded.
“Anytime you get to the national championships it’s a successful season,” he said.