By Evan Manning
A three-headed monster of Jahmal Jones, Aaron Best, and Adika Peter-McNeilly wasn’t enough.
Despite heroic efforts from Ryerson’s star trio, the Rams dropped out of the Ontario University Athletics final four Friday night against the number two ranked Carleton Ravens by a final score of 84-80.
“We were very confident today and we wanted to display that,” said Jones. “We just made some critical errors down the stretch.”
Jones did his best Russell Westbrook impersonation, piling up 28 points and five assists on an abundance of jaw-dropping plays.
Best and Peter-McNeilly also added 20 and 16 points, respectively.
Ryerson hit their shots and held Carleton down for 30 minutes, but the Ravens, who have won eight out of the past 12 OUA championships, simply could not be stopped on a night where the Rams looked like they might make school history.
After starting out the game 0/4 from the field, Ryerson responded with a 10-2 run and settled comfortably into an attacking role.
The second and third quarter saw much of the same, with the Rams swatting away every Ravens comeback attempt thrown at them.
A Jones buzzer-beating jumper put the Rams up 64-61 after three quarters. Unfortunately for Ryerson, a final 10 minutes were left.
“Two teams played very well tonight, but the team that played better down the stretch won,” said head coach Roy Rana.
Ryerson slowly saw their lead slip away in the fourth, and a late 8-0 run for Carleton in the last four minutes capped off the heartbreaking loss.
Carleton’s Philip Scrubb, who has been hailed as “the best CIS men’s basketball prospect ever”, saw his brother Thomas do the heavy lifting, leading the Ravens with 31.
Despite the valiant effort, Rana voiced his displeasure after the game.
“We’re not about making statements in loses anymore. We want to go out there and win these games,” said Rana.
Ryerson will have one more opportunity to become Canada’s best, as they host the CIS Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship at the Mattamy Athletic Centre next week.
For now, they look ahead to tomorrow, when they will take on the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s in the OUA bronze-medal game.
Photos by Charles Vanegas