By Harlan Nemerofsky
HALIFAX – The Alberta Golden Bears defeated the Ryerson Rams 81-52 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) quarter-finals on Friday night at the Halifax Metro Centre.
The Rams looked sluggish defensively for most of the night, allowing Alberta’s all-stars to do most of the damage for the Golden Bears offensively. Alberta’s guards Jordan Baker and Daniel Ferguson lit up the Rams for 49 of the Bears’ 81 points.
Baker scored 26 points on 69 per cent shooting, grabbing 8 rebounds and blocked four shots, while Ferguson also scored 23 points.
“We needed them to be aggressive. You’re not good if both of those guys aren’t,” said Bears’ head coach Greg Francis. “And they were both good tonight.”
Another category the Rams were dominated in was the rebounding department, as the Golden Bears outrebounded them 50 to 28. Alberta’s length and size were simply too much to handle over the course of the game.
Ryerson’s head coach Roy Rana feels that his team’s ineffective defense was a big reason for their slow start.
“We had a tough start and we never really recovered,” said Rana.” “They played really well.”
Ryerson’s star point-guard Jahmal Jones finished with a team-high 15 points but he was also unhappy with the team’s performance.
“We didn’t play as well as we should have,” said an emotional Jones. “We didn’t come out with our game plan. We didn’t show up tonight. We came out flat.”
The Rams started the game positively, first-year guard Aaron Best scored a three-pointer to give the Rams a 3-0 edge, but unfortunately that was the Rams’ biggest and only lead of the night. The Western Canadian champions went on a 16-1 run, and led by nine after the first quarter.
The Rams entered halftime trailing by 24 points. But they came out of the locker room red-hot, whatever Rana said at halftime sparked a 15-2 run by the Rams.
“We knew we wanted to come out of halftime and give it all we had,” said Rana. “That meant a lot of energy to start the third quarter,”
But it didn’t last, as Alberta settled back in defensively and held the Rams to just five points over the next six minutes to stem Ryerson’s momentum.
Even though the Rams played the Golden Bears to a standstill in the third quarter, 18-17, it was too little too late.
The Rams’ quest for a national championship officially ended Friday night, a gold medal in Halifax is out of the question. But the Rams will continue to play today in a consolation match against Concordia University at 1:15 p.m.
Our coverage of the Rams in Halifax will continue all weekend long.