By Sean Fitz-Gerald
HALIFAX — The spotlight on the Ryerson men’s basketball team in Halifax was so bright that the team’s two straight losses didn’t take the shine away.
The team was featured in four major newspapers last Thursday and Friday including a profile of head coach Terry haggard in The Globe and Mail. On Sunday, the Tams were shown on TSN’s nationally televised CIAU tournament highlight package.
“I guess we’re sort of the flavour of the week,” Rams head coach Terry Haggerty.
Unfortunately, the Rams couldn’t convert the new-found celebrity status into wins on the court.
Ryerson lost 100-83 to top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears on Friday, the first day of the CIAN basketball championships. In the consolation semi-final the following day, the Rams lost a heartbreaker 81-77 to the Bishop Gaiters, last year’s national champion.
The Rams gave the Golden Bears, who lost to St. Mary’s Huskies in the final, an 8-0 lead early in the first half. Ryerson narrowed the gap to three points, but were outscored 22-8 in the last seven minutes of the half, giving Alberta a 51-33 lead.
The Rams outscored Alberta 50-49 in the second, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome th deficit.
On Saturday, the 50-or-so Ryerson fans who were able to make the trip east were treated to one of the most exciting games of the eyar.
The Rams jumped to a 12-4 lead over Bishop’s Gaiters. But questionable officiating — the Rams were called for six fouls before Bishop’s had one — and turnovers allowed the Gaiters to crawl back into the game.
The teams swapped leads through the second half, until the Gaiters secured a 74-70 score with less than four minutes left in the game.
Along with the lead, the Rams lost forward Jan-Michael Nation after he fouled out when he slapped the hand of a Gaiter who was attempting to dunk the ball with about a minute to play.
“We played our hearts out today, we just came up a little short,” Nation said. “They’re experienced, they’ve been here and their poise kept them in the game.”
Hometown team St. Mary’s tok the championship with a 73-69 win over Alberta in last Sunday’s final.