By Harlan Nemers
HALIFAX — With a win against the Concordia Stingers yesterday, the Ryerson Rams have already come further than they ever have at the CIS Finals, a tournament only for Canada’s best teams based on their regular season standings.
Now the Rams, although unable to win a medal in the eight-team round robin, will compete against the Acadia Axemen in the consolation finals as the two cross-leagued teams battle for a fifth-place finish on Sunday at the Halifax Metro Centre.
The eighth-seeded Axemen lost to the first-seeded Carlton Ravens in the quarter-final round 82-68 as they were outscored by 16 in the first quarter and never came close to tying it. The Axemen had an amazing 11 steals and five blocks while Sean Stogue owned the stat sheet with nine points, one block, two steals, four rebounds and five assists in a losing cause.
In the first round of consolation, the Axemen came up with a huge upset, defeating third-seeded Lakehead 84- 75. The win was capped by a five-point fourth quarter comeback. Owen Klassen was monstrous in a huge double-double performance scoring 27 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and garnering three blocks. Stogue filled the stats sheets as well.
Meanwhile, the Rams also got here with a similar 1-1 record with an opening round loss and a second round win.
The seventh-seeded Rams lost to the second-seeded Alberta Golden Bears in the quarter finals 81-52 thanks to a minus 15 second quarter and Alberta’s strength in the paint. Jahmal Jones scored a team-high 15 points and Bjorn Michaelsen played well with 11 points, one steal, two assists, and six rebounds.
The Rams came up with a big team effort win against the third-seeded-Stingers in the second consolation game winning 84-80. In a closely matched affair, the Rams, lead by Michaelsen’s 25, went on a third quarter rally to tie it, then win. Jahmal Jones had a well-rounded game scoring 14, helping on five, stealing two, and rebounding six.
Offensively, both teams are nearly identical, shooting right around 40 per cent, 27 per cent from long range, but the Axmen have a 13 per cent edge in free throw percentage.
Defensively, the Axemen have a significant advantage, 87-62, in the rebounding department, something which the Rams have had a hard time doing with their small unit but the Rams have a huge edge with their passing abilities, a 31-21 lead in assists. Based on their last two CIS Final games, the Rams are also being out-stolen, out-blocked, and out scored, however, they have allowed eight less turnovers.
The Rams have not faced Acadia at all this year because they are from different leagues, Ryerson from the OUA and Acadia from the AUS.